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Eggplant is one of the most beautiful and, at the same time, one of the most mysterious plants in Robbins Farm Garden. 

Its beauty comes from both shape and color — from its long rounded curves and royal purple skin.  

The mystery comes from the fact that many people don't know what to do with it. Try eating it raw, and you'll find it tastes horrible. It's bitter. It's rubbery and porous like a sponge. When it comes to raw eggplant, the beauty is only skin deep.  

And what's with the name? When was the last time you saw an elongated purple egg?  

A much better name for this vegetable might have been something like "spongeplant." Peel away its royal skin, and that's what it looks, feels, and tastes like: a sea sponge harvested from a slightly salty, slightly vinegary sea.  

It's no wonder, then, that in spite of its uncontested beauty, eggplant is one of the least popular vegetables in this garden, perhaps even less popular than beets. Many people go years without eating eggplant. Some adults, in fact, don't even know (if they ever knew) what an eggplant looks like.

Yet you should know about eggplants. Served right, with the right companions, eggplant can be absolutely wonderful.  

Read on, and we'll tell you much of what you need to know about this mysterious plant.