Eggplant/aubergine help please
So, I am growing eggplant/aubergines for the first time successfully (bees love the flowers which is a huge bonus - the plant is on a sill outside the window by the dining table so we get to watch the bees come and go over meals). However, not sure when to harvest. Fruits are about ..well... egg size just now. Are they like courgettes in that smaller fruits are more tasty, or should I let them grow more? Should say that for us, taste is more important the quantity of crop.
My experience with growing several varieties of eggplant is that they are ready to pick when they yield to slight pressure, much like a tomato. The skin should be glossy, not dull. When eggplants are picked at their prime, the interiors will be firm rather than spongy and the seeds will be more or less unnoticeable. As an eggplant ages, the skin becomes dull and the seeds become more prominent. I probably would not slice and grill an older eggplant, but I would not hesitate to use it in stews or soups. Unless the eggplant is bitter for some reason (and it happens every once in a while, even with eggplants fresh from the garden), the flavor of an older eggplant is still good. Once the skin starts to turn yellow, however, the eggplant is probably good for nothing except compost.
Don't let the gloss fade from their skins, pick them while still glossy. They don't need to yield to pressure or anything- if the skin is glossy they're good, from tiny baby size to whenever they start to lose the shine. Yielding to pressure is unhelpful- it could mean that they need water.