Friday, March 21, 2014

Why are my Purple Eggplants producing Yellow fruit?


Pansy, sorry I'm not sure what the colour is called I just think it is a great pic.  Click on the image to see a slide show of this week's Delightful availability list.

Can you tell me why the eggplants are yellow and not purple? I heard on the radio that they are no good and to pull them out as there was a problem with the seeds. Thanks

I wondered which radio program this had been mentioned on, then I met Vasili who told me he had this little grenade land in his lap when he was doing his regular 3AW spot.  

There are many ways that we can end up with the wrong plant paired with the wrong label. Jeannie has to concentrate when she is sowing seed to make sure the correct seed is used for each tray and the correct label is applied.  Michele has to provide the pricking team with the correct labels and the pricking team have to apply them to the correct punnets.  Of course when we handle plants this many times, systems to prevent mis-labelling are essential, but they are not completely fool proof.  

A small number of customers have raised concerns with yellow Eggplant this season, and I have heard that plants from a number of different growers purchased at various garden centres have produced fruit that is definitely not purple.  So in this instance we breath a sigh of relief... phew it 'ain't my fault! We don't grow a yellow Eggplant to mis-label and it sound like the problem is more wide spread than just our nursery.  We believe that a batch of seed from one of our suppliers is a dud and keep in mind the seed producer has as many and more opportunities to mix up labelling of their product. They rarely make mistakes but as we can't tell until 6 months after the seed was purchased and after we have finished producing the plant for it's appropriate season it is always very frustrating.

None of this helps the gardener who has gone to the effort of purchasing and growing eggplant that they expected to be Purple only to find it is the wrong colour.  I don't know if the fruit is edible. I haven't actually seen one but we'll assume Vasili's advice over the radio, to pull them out is the most appropriate.  I do know that the lavender striped fruit "Fairytail" hybrid that we grew in pots eventually ripened to a not especially appetising yellow colour. It is a ripe fruit so it might be OK to eat but it might also be bitter. The chance of it being poisonous are, I think pretty low.  Anyway, if you have been disappointed by your Eggplants this season please let me know, we will happily supply replacement plants appropriate to the season or fresh Eggplant in Spring.  If I can get some photos or fruit specimens I will follow up with the seed supplier and we'll make sure it doesn't happen again next year.

25 comments:

  1. I too have yellow eggplants. I bought a punnet of what was supposed to be purple eggplants, most of the plants have produced yellow friit witj the exception of 2. They just don't look right to eat :(

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    1. I also bought a punnet of purple eggplants (according to the photo on the tag). Only two plants were purple, the others produced small yellow egg shaped fruit which are full of seeds. I have used these only in curries. Don't know what else to do with them.

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    2. My plant had all purple eggplants, then decided to pop out a yellowish one. I was going to toss it, but then my mom's plant did the same thing. Thought I would take a chance and cook it to see if it was edible. I always peel the skin of my purple ones, so did the same for the yellow. Sliced it and found the larger end had more seeds but scraped the excess out, then dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and cooked cooked the slices on my electric griddle.Finished them off in the microwave with some marinara sauce and a bit of parm cheese...... JUST as good as the purple ones ! I won't be scared of them next time LOL>>> *gave hubby first sample just in case ! Two thumbs up !

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  3. i bought what was supposed to be a black beauty variety but it is producing small yellow eggplants. The first two fruits that i plucked off of it i got rid of, thinking that they were duds. I have read online that this might in fact be a purple eggplant yet due to poor pollination it is producing these small yellow fruit. But i have also discovered that there is a thai yellow variety. Perhaps there was a seed or labeling mix-up. All my other eggplants are thriving & producing bright purple, white, or perfectly striated purple & white fruit. So i suspect that this one plant might be a yellow variety. I just pulled another off and i am going to roast it and see how it tastes.

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    1. I also grew out yellow plants. This was my first time growning and didn't know if they were in still phase of rippining. Glad I found this blog. Anxious to hear how they roast up for you.

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    2. Mine are half purple, slightly white at the bottom and mostly green, I've left them on the plant for weeks; they start out dark purple, I've harvest tested a few in each stage and they were all a little green inside. I overcooked them to reduce the bitterness and they were creamy and delicious. I'm just wondering if they're going to turn white or stay purplish greenish yellow. It's supposed to be the long purple variety.

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    3. I've grown same as yours Gabriel
      Thanks for your post. Ive been concerned also about to eat or not myself. ... sliced one just before & exactly as you described inside. I'll try salting to extract bitter juices before cooking. Thanks again

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  4. oh, i forgot to mention that i left the two initial fruits it produced for several weeks hoping they would ripen. They never turned color or grew much in size. the skin started getting small split marks as if it was overgrown. that is another reason that i suspected it is in fact a small yellow variety.

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    1. I've been doing the same thing; the plant has about 20 fruits on it and they're all ranging in color; starting at dark purple and then whitening at the bottom but mostly greenish.

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  5. I have an eggplant plant that has been labelled as the purple variety and i have only seen 2 yellow fruits, the first I discarded as it went all dry and shrivelled, but the 2nd fruit is still on the vine and I don't know what to do with it. After doing some research on the net, and your comments here, I think I will pull the plant out and start again!!

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  6. Thanks for your comment. I just threw them all out. Wasn't sure.
    I got NO purple ones.

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  7. Morphal (WC south africa)
    My purple eggplant produced some yellow fruit - I have noticed that i can keep these fruit much longer than the purple one's . Maybe the yellow one`s have a natural preservative in it`s genes- ( GM - foods ?)

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  8. I planted what I thought was purple eggplant. Now I have had some purple ones but also yellow on the same plant. Another plant is all yellow and I have no idea how to tell if they are ripe, over ripe, or okay to eat.
    This is the second year I've had this problem. I the first year I had purple ones and all was okay. Last year I just tossed the yellow plant and blamed it on the weather. Now I believe maybe that is not the case.
    so how do I know when yellow eggplant is ripe?

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    1. I have an eggplant that produced a couple of purple ones...small but tasty, now I only get yellow eggplant. Going to give it one more chance.

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  9. I too purchased seedlings that were supposed to be purple, have produced all small bright yellow fruits. Do we eat them? Fruit prolific on bushes.

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  10. Replies
    1. Yellow Eggplant is perfectly edible but I am told the yellow fruit tends to be bitter. I like the curry idea.
      We have careful;ly checked that we are buying the correct seed but the same issue has arisen with different seeds and from the comments it is a pretty common problem. I think it must be related to plant stress or nutrient balance but I don't know the actual cause.

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    2. My eggplant started off light purple. As it grow bigger, it will change to yellow colour starting from the tail side.
      2 fruits already yellowed, remaining 3 is still purplish and growing. It looks like it will turn yellow soon.
      Btw, the fruit didn't grow big, about 3 to 4 inches.
      Not sure if it is edible, It is still hard and didn't look riped. I cut 1 fruit and it looks normal inside.
      Should I pull the whole plant or continue observing? Didn't have the gut to try the fruit. It doesn't look appealing.
      The same plot, I'm also growing okra, green chilli, brocolli and chinese Kai lan, all grew very well and edible.
      I'm using organic soil (with some manure) and mushroom compost.

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    3. Thanks for the update CY. I still haven't found an easy solution for yellow Eggplants, other than curry :)

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  11. I have both colors growing on a black beauty. One artical indicated the seed company miss labled. But in my case they are on the same stock, or stem of one plant. So confused.

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    1. Mine are starting purple then turning white at the tip then kinda green :(

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  12. My egglant bushes produced beautiful dark purple 8 to 12 inch fruit for three years in a row. I was in hospital and unable to replant etc after the first season. When I saw them producing the second year after surviving winter I just let them go and had same fruit for three years.
    This year, the 4th, all the fruit started normal white striated, but have turned completely yellow and none reached more than four to six inches.
    I therefore do not believe it is a seed issue. Besides, who would need, want, or buy seeds for yellow aubergine? I don't believe they even exist and Monsanto is not the culprit. Instead, I think it may be the severe climate change which has been much more aggresive the past few years and for this we are all responsible.
    We live in the California Valley near Lodi and Modesto and I plan to let them go another year to see what happens!
    We've had five years of severe draught and all the resevoirs dried up. Suddenly last winter we had torrential rain and all resevoirs were over flowing. That was followed by the hottest summer in many years. Two vast extremes.
    Just a thought! Color me curious too.

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