Exhibition tips for Growing Aubergines
To have good sized fruits ready for late summer or early autumn shows, sow the seeds in early spring. Six is the usual number shown, for both single dishes and as part of collections. Cut the fruit as near as possible to the show date, using a sharp knife to sever the stalk from the plant stem. Select fruit as uniform as possible in size, shape and colour. It is much better to have six moderately sized aubergines than five moderately sized ones and one enormous specimen, which makes the others appear small by comparison.
Very little preparation is needed; simply wipe the fruit with a dry cloth. If you are travelling some distance to the show, wrap each aubergine in tissue paper, and pack the fruit tightly in a box, so that they do not roll about in transit. Do not pack them so tightly that they are crushed or bruised; use wood wool to wedge the fruit into position.
At the show bench, arrange the fruit in a shallow basket or plate. Never spray the aubergines with water to make them shiny, as water on the skin will cause discolouration and rapid decay. The judges will look for good sized fruit, well coloured and without blemish.
Short Tom (F1 hybrid): very early ripening variety; heavy crops of 12 cm (5”) long, 5 cm (2”) thick fruit.
Tenderetta (F1 hybrid): new introduction with very succulent flesh.
Moneymaker (F1 hybrid): early ripening variety; heavy crops of dark purple fruits, 10-15 cm (4-6”) long.
Long Purple: older, but very popular variety; fruits long rather than round; reliable cropper.
Early Long Purple: particularly good variety for growing outdoors in warm, sheltered areas.
Burpee Hybrid (F1 hybrid): early variety; plants tall-growing and heavy cropping, fruits oval. Claresse (F1 hybrid): very early, new variety with good flavoured, deep purple fruit.
Large-fruited Slice Rite No. 23 (F1 hybrid): large, oblong fruits weighing up to 3 kg (1 lb); very heavy cropper; fruit almost black when mature.