A Welcome Addition to the Kitchen Menu
A small, late summer gift from a close friend, our pea eggplants (Solanum torvum) have grown remarkably throughout autumn and winter,suffering little damage from frost and cold weather... so unlike the larger fruiting cousins. At the moment our largest plant stands at 180cm, resplendent in its first star-shaped white flowers, no doubt stimulated by its location right beside a nourishing compost bin.
We will need to be a little careful to collect the berries of the pea eggplant. We have been warned that the seeds within the berries might sprout upon dropping, spreading weed-like... Our first impressions of this plant are that it is very easy to grow, since it has received no special treatment from us.
Apparently native to Central America, Pea Eggplants are common throughout Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand and Malaysia. In Thailand, it is commonly used in curries. Pea eggplant (terung pipit) is sometimes used as the basis of hot sambal dishes in Malaysia. This is a vegetable we have never cooked with, so culinary 'experiments' appear to be necessary.
Incidentally, the terung pipit appears to be a favoured home of spiders. One of our plants is clothed in large beautiful webs, the other has a little translucent, brown eight-legged resident. My theory is that the spiders like the protection afforded by the hairy and slightly spiny stems and twigs.
Wishing you hours of enjoyment and contentment in your garden...