We’ve all seen eggplant. Even if all you’ve seen is the emoji, you know what eggplant looks like; the deep purple color is unlike pretty much anything else you’ve seen in nature.
It’s natural to associate eggplant with the color purple. Not many stop to wonder why eggplant has its distinct color, though, and we’re here to answer that question for the curious.
Read on, and we’ll tell you about the science behind eggplant’s notorious hue. You might be shocked to learn that there’s more to this fruitful plant than meets the eye.
Quick Answer: Why is Eggplant Purple?
The eggplant you see most often in grocery stores is purple because of pigment in its skin. Specifically, that pigment is called anthocyanin.
Depending on the source, this pigment can vary in color. It also appears as red, blue, and black.
The Many Colors of Eggplant
Here’s something you might not have known until today: purple isn’t the only color eggplant comes in. Eggplant is actually a veritable rainbow of colors depending on the variety of plant.
Machiaw eggplant, for example, has a pinkish hue to it. Another type of eggplant called orient express has a deep blue-black color.
Violetta di Firenze eggplant looks like a purple pumpkin with beautiful white stripes. Then there’s osterei eggplant, which has a ghostly white color that can look nothing short of shocking in any garden.
At the end of the day, eggplant is an incredibly diverse addition to any garden. As distinct as the typical eggplant we know looks, it can look even more fun depending on the variety you choose to grow.
Read Also: Why is Eggplant Considered a Fruit?
How to Grow Your Own Eggplant
Having learned a little more about how gorgeous different varieties of eggplant can be, you might be interested in growing your own. This plant can take a little more maintenance than some others, but we promise it’s worth the work.
You’ll need to wait until frosts are done for the year before planting. Once you’ve reached that point, you’re ready to sow your own eggplant.
The plants should have least two or three feet of space between them – they need a lot of room. Make sure wherever you put them is exposed to full sunlight, because they also love soaking up the sun.
Fertilizer works wonderfully with eggplant, but you can also mix compost like rotting leaves into their soil. As far as watering goes, you’ll want the soil to be kept moist.
Determining when the eggplant is ready to harvest will take a little testing. Taking a look can help you figure out if it’s ready - your eggplant should be shiny and smooth.
You can try pressing on the skin, too. If the skin snaps back into place after the pressure, it’s at a good point for harvesting. On the flipside, if your finger leaves an indentation that doesn’t go away, your eggplant has ripened too much and would not be suitable for eating.
The eggplant most people know and love is a vivid purple shade due to a pigment in its skin. But beyond the famous purple, you can find eggplant in a range of colors including pink, black, and white.
We challenge you to either try to find these unique varieties of eggplant or to even grow some of your own. Aside from having delicious eggplant when all is said and done, you’ll also get to enjoy the looks of lesser known varieties.