Each season has its own vegetables: Aubergines in Summer

Each season has its own vegetables: Aubergines in Summer

Aubergines (Solanum melongena) are native to India, where they grew in the wild more than 4,000 years ago.

They are rich in minerals (potassium, magnesium, phosphorus) and vitamins (A, group B and C), as well as being a source of fibres. Aubergines are also known for their purifying, diuretic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, thanks to the significant presence of anthocyanins, the pigments that give them their traditional purple colour.

In order to remove the bitterness and the excess water, before cooking they should be sliced and covered with coarse salt for at least two hours.

But how and when are they grown?

Solanum melongena

It’s grown from seedlings

Planting distance
At least 80 cm between rows, at least 60 cm between plants in the same row.

Planting location
Sunny and protected from the wind.

Three plants per person.

Sowing time
For seedlings, late January-early March. Germination takes 10-20 days.

It needs a lot of nutrients. It’s fertilised with manure and requires further fertilisation with compost, seaweed infusion or organic mulch.

It needs regular watering to a depth of 30 cm. The leaves should not be watered.

Can be planted with
beans, peas, broad beans, cabbage, nasturtium, calendula

Should not be planted with
potatoes, tomatoes

Diseases and pests
Potato borer, potato mites, potato mould. If the fruits are brown (but not soft/rotten), the plant lacks nutrients: water with nettle or borage infusion.

Aubergines should be harvested gradually. The fruits are harvested when they reach a medium size, so that the plant does not become exhausted. They can be kept in the fridge for a short time.

The fruits are eaten. Most of the useful nutrients are found in the skin, which means that aubergines should not be peeled. The fruits should be eaten as fresh as possible (when the skin is shiny and taut).

Aubergines like warmth and a sunny location.

Interesting facts
The fruits can be of different colours, from white to different shades of purple. Older fruits are bitter and flavourless.

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