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Eggplant is known in Germany mainly in its elongated varieties with dark fruit skin. However, ready-to-harvest are now also other, less common varieties with light shells or round shapes. Modern breeds are almost completely bitter-free and contain only a few seeds.
Harvesting eggplants requires experience
Most aubergine varieties are ready for harvest from the end of July or beginning of August. They are then not so hard and their smooth fruit shell gives way to gentle pressure. However, this alone is not sufficient for the first fruit as an indication of an optimal ripeness: Cut the first aubergine, which has passed the pressure test, with the knife and look at the pulp: The cut halves should not be greenish inside - otherwise they still contain too much solanine, which is slightly toxic. The cores can be white to slightly green in color. On overripe aubergines, on the other hand, they are already brown and the pulp is soft and creamy. In addition, the shell then loses its shine.
Eggplant does not all mature at the same time, but gradually until about mid-September. Cut ripe fruits with a sharp knife or pruning shears - unlike tomatoes, they are often quite firm in the mature state of the plant and can easily break off when they are torn off. Since also newer varieties on the calyx and fruit stalks often carry spines, one pulls on harvesting better gloves. Important: Never consume eggplant raw, as the solanin may cause stomach and intestinal problems even in small doses. By heat, the toxin is decomposed and rendered harmless.