OK, I’ll admit it. Part of what drew me to the Hansel and Gretel miniature eggplants were their names. Wouldn’t it be fun to pair these two varieties, I thought–Hansel with its deep purple fruits, and Gretel with its smooth ivory ones–and see which did better? (The fact that both had been named as All America Selections and would fit in my container garden didn’t hurt, either.)
So far, in this game of horticultural sibling rivalry, Gretel is leading. She was first to bear fruit, producing these spectacular white eggplants (above). The fruit has a tender skin, so you don’t need to peel it–a real plus–there are very few seeds, and the taste is superb. Tonight, several of Gretel’s first fruits went into our ratatouille (below right). Because we had only a few that were large enough to harvest, we had to supplement with eggplant from the market. But that only showed off how superior the Gretels are–sweet and melt-in-your-mouth tender. My husband immediately declared that he could eat “Ratatouille à la Gretel” seven days a week.
But Hansel has produced something I’ve never seen in an eggplant before–twins! Check out the two baby eggplants growing from the same flower (above right). Ain’t it grand? I can’t wait until they’re large enough to eat. Then we’ll plop some into a new batch of ratatouille (along with tasty heirloom tomatoes, plus basil, parsley, and thyme from the garden) and find out which sibling eggplant is the true winner.