A delicious recipe for your aubergine harvest
Summer isn’t over just yet, and we hope you’ve got plenty of aubergines to use up with this tasty idea for your table from the BBC Good Food Show Summer.
In the same family as tomatoes, peppers and chillies, aubergines can be easy to grow if you give them the right conditions. They need a good, rich, moisture-retentive soil, plenty of sun and warm conditions. A sunny greenhouse or windowsill is perfect for them. For tips on growing them, from our friends at BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, read on below!
How to grow
Plant aubergine seeds indoors in January with a heated propagator or in March without one. Transfer the seedlings to 7.5cm pots when the first true leaves emerge. Later, plant them in the ground or individual 30cm pots filled with peat-free, multi-purpose compost. If growing aubergines outdoors, wait until the threat of frost is gone before placing them in their final growing spots.
Caring for aubergines
Aubergines thrive in consistent temperatures of around 20°C.
To boost fruiting, you can either gently tap or shake the flowers to release pollen, or plant pollinator-friendly species nearby (though this may pose challenges in enclosed greenhouses).
When your aubergine plants reach 30cm in height, prune the tips of the main stems to encourage side shoots. Once flowering begins, provide weekly doses of high-potash fertiliser or tomato feed, and lightly mist the plants to enhance fruit formation. When you have five to six fruits, remove any small fruiting shoots. Taller varieties may require staking, especially during fruit ripening. Maintain adequate watering and apply mulch as needed.
Harvesting and storing
The standard practice for harvesting aubergines involves picking them before their skin loses its shine. While this can indicate over-ripeness, it’s important to consider the specific traits of the aubergine variety you’re cultivating, as some may naturally have less glossy skins.
When it comes to storing aubergines, they are at their best when picked fresh and cooked right away. Certain varieties may require slicing and salting before cooking to eliminate any bitterness.
…and now for something delicious. Why not try this Stuffed Braised Aubergine recipe?
As seen on the Summer Kitchen with Kwoklyn Wan at the BBC Good Food Show Summer 2023.
- 350g raw king prawns, shelled and deveined
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus 1 tbsp for frying
- 1 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- 2 large aubergines
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp chicken powder
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- pinch of white pepper
- 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water to create a slurry
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Put the prawns into a blender and pulse until you have a chunky paste. Don’t over-mince the prawns. Transfer to a large bowl and add the sugar, white pepper, salt, sesame oil, vegetable oil, rice wine, egg, cornflour and half the spring onions. Mix well until you have an evenly distributed paste. Cover and chill for 30 mins.
- Cut the aubergines in half lengthwise and then slice into 2cm thick half moon shapes. Cut each aubergine half moon in half again from the skin side, but not all the way through – you’re creating a cavity for your filling. Using a teaspoon, fill the cavities with prawn paste, with it bulging out slightly.
- Heat a non-stick wok over a medium heat and add extra vegetable oil and fry the aubergines prawn side down until golden.
- While the prawn and aubergine is browning, combine the sauce ingredients except for the garlic, sesame oil and cornflour. Add 350ml to the sauce ingredients and mix well.
- Add the garlic to the wok and fry for 20 seconds until fragrant. Pour in the sauce around the aubergines. Turn the heat down to a low simmer and put a lid on the wok. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the cooked aubergine and place on a serving plate. Give the cornflour slurry a mix to loosen and slowly add to the sauce to thicken, stirring continuously. Pour the sauce over the stuffed aubergines.