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Review: Burpee Long Purple Organic Eggplant

First Eggplant from the Bush. None Got Much Larger than This

Well, I'm giving up on my eggplant finally. For background, I wanted to grow Asian eggplant, which I hadn't grown in many years. I had previously grown Ichiban, but it seems Monsanto bought that and took it off the market because it wasn't viable for commercial growing. I hate Monsanto -- but I digress. I planted late this year, so I just went to WalMart and bought Burpee Long Purple Organic eggplant seeds.

Growth and Bloom

My plant had to stay in a 4-in. pot way too long, from April to July when I moved, and when I finally repotted it into a 7-gallon pot in July, I was happy that it grew very rapidly, but alas it had no blooms. When it finally did bloom, they did not pollinate, so I started hand pollinating. That's when I found out that this eggplant is not what was advertised on the package.

My eggplant now is setting buds again, and since I won't be hand-pollinating, I doubt I'll get any more fruits.

Last Eggplant I'm Letting Ripen for Seeds
I'm letting the last fruit of the first batch ripen to get seeds. I don't really like this eggplant, and I've already done away with its baby sister I had in a one-gallon pot, so I don't know why I'm saving seeds. I guess I figure I'll try it again next year when I can grow it during hotter weather and see how it does. Or I'll just give the seeds away or grow a few to trade.

My Experience

In case you are tempted to buy the Long Purple Organic eggplant seeds from Burpee, know that they don't get 10 inches long, they tell you it's best to pick them "before they are 10 inches long", and this is because they start to turn at about 5-6 inches. They only get from 1-1.5 inches in diameter. The website shows them as dark purple and lighter purple. It's hard to tell when they are ready to pick -- do you pick them when they are dark or wait until they fade?

As for eating them, you are supposed to be able to cook them with skins on, which does not appeal to me at all, but I see why this is recommended, because they are difficult to peel, and due to their tiny size, you lose a lot of flesh trying to peel them. They have an abundance of seeds if you let them get longer than 4-5 inches, and you can peel right down to the seed trying to get that tight skin off.

Burpee advertises that each plant produces "8 or more" eggplants, which is true. They produce about 8 fruits, then just stop blooming. I prefer a continuous bearing plant that does not bear in batches. The plants keep growing and eventually put out new buds, but 8 of these tiny things is not even enough for a good meal for me. There may have been a couple more if there hadn't been the early bloom drop, but not many. I'd estimate the plant would not have given me over a dozen small fruits. 

Most importantly, they are also pretty tasteless, which is described by Burpee as "mild flavor." I like a strong flavored eggplant, which these definitely are not. In fact, I fried them and the Italian breadcrumb flavor completely masked any eggplant flavor, which is not acceptable to me.

All in all, I don't recommend this variety. I would give it one star. That being said, unless this plant survives the winter, I won't grow it next year in my garden, but may grow a few seedlings to give away. If this one plant survives, I'll put it into the ground to see how it does.

I'm going to try another Asian variety, maybe Ping Tung or Millionaire, and probably give Florida High Bush a try next year. I don't can or freeze food, so it's best to grow what I enjoy.