Farmers Market Find: Turkish Eggplant

Last week’s visit to the Minneapolis Farmers Market felt like cheating when I came home with bagfuls of produce. I loaded up on so many fresh (and dried) items which is a bit rare this late in the season, but this warm Minnesota fall has treated us well. I picked up carrots, kale, Brussels spouts, lettuce, potatoes, onions, herbs galore, and more!


Turkish Eggplants hanging out at the farmers market.

I like shopping at this market because they are open year-round and I can find dried beans which are much fresher than what you find in the grocery store. This means no soaking overnight!

Lovely beans at the Minneapolis Farmers Market.

Lovely beans at the Minneapolis Farmers Market.

I picked up these lovelies which might be Painted Ponies?

Painted ponies

Painted Ponies

I couldn’t pass up this beautiful wreath made of dried chilies, peppercorns (or something) and other market items.


The highlight of this trip was finding these tomato-pumpkin-looking things (top photo). The vendor said they were called “bitter eggplant” and best used in stir-fries. Her friend jumped in and said to chop them up, add salt and eat raw. I did a little research and found that this eggplant is also known by several other names, including scarlet eggplant, Turkish eggplant, and Ethiopian eggplant. The older the vegetable the brighter and more bitter it is. Remember my post on bitter melon? This reminded me of it in terms of bitterness but not as intense. I’m interested in trying a young one as it was described as “rich and sweet” by one site.

Stuffed Turkish Eggplant

I found a recipe for Stuffed Turkish Eggplant  which really made them look beautiful. I loosely followed her recipe (it’s what I do) and used ground turkey instead of the lamb and substituted other items. The insides of the eggplant were scooped out, chopped and sauteed with onions, spices and the ground turkey.

Stuffed Turkish Eggplant with brown rice.

Stuffed Turkish Eggplant with brown rice.

Here are the cuties next to some brown rice and served over a tomatillo sauce that I had in the fridge. They made a beautiful dish but will say the full eggplant was a bit bitter for my taste. The stuffing which included the eggplant was delicious which makes sense since it was chopped and stir-fried just as I was instructed by the vendor. They know what they’re talking about, always ask questions! Luckily I have several left so will be making a full stir-fry with beef or another protein that can stand up to the eggplant.

The web is seriously low on recipes for this ingredient, do you have any recipes?

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