'Hansel' Eggplant- what's your opinion of it?

christinmk z5b eastern WAJuly 27, 2009

Hi guys! I had tried planting eggplants in the ground many years ago but it didn't do much, so this year I tried a 'Hansel' in a pot. The plant was quite large when I bought it, and put on booms soon after I planted it. There are tons of fruit on it. I read from Parks Seed that you can pick them from 3in. all the way up to 10in. Last night I grilled two. One was about 5in. long, the other a bit smaller. The inside was wonderful; great taste. But the skin was really tough. I don't know if that is typical for this cultivar, or it is because I give it too much/not enough water, or something else.

I am interested to hear what you guys think of 'Hansel'. Are the skins on yours are tough as well? How do you like the taste?

Are there any others you find are better? I am curious, since I will be growing lots more eggplant next year, though probably not 'Hansel'. ;-)


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christinmk z5b eastern WA

No one grows Hansel???

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 11:48AM
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I'm growing Rosa Bianca and trying Little Fingers for the first time this year.

I hate eggplant and grow them for a friend. lol

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 3:02PM
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I grow quite a few cultivars of eggplant but never have gotten around the much hyped Hansel and Gretel. Hansel is an oriental type which type in general have more tender skins than American ( Black Beauty types). It is touted for container gardening which is not my thing. It might be that you need to peel them like the larger eggplant fruits. If you like to grill baby eggplants, this is Slim Jim which grows in bunches like grapes. To small for most uses but great for grilling.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 3:58PM
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susancol(7 Atlanta)

Haven't tried Hansel, though I hear it's very productive. This year I'm growing the standard black beauties, ichiban, swallow (similar to ichiban but earlier) and Fairy Tale (mini and striped, very prolific). I only grew the BB's because my ichiban seeds didn't work out so well and couldn't find plants. Generally I prefer the japanese style ones and find them very easy to grow. They have less tough skin than the italian big eggplants. Not sure how they compare to Hansel. Next year I plan to try Ping Tung, which I understand has notably thin skin.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 4:13PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Hi guys!

-farmerdilla, lovely eggplant! I never knew oriental types generally had thin skins, thanks for mentioning that. Do you find your 'Slim Jim' to have thin skins?

-Susan, my Hansel is very productive. Right now there are 16 fruits on the plant, 5 of which can be eaten any time. I think it really loves growing in a container. I don't mind it if the skins are a little tough. But these are hard to chew, lol! Not sure why...
I love the look of 'Fairy Tale'; I saw it in a seed catalog. Do they taste nice?
I really must grow more eggplant next year. I never knew they were so easy to grow!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 6:45PM
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susancol(7 Atlanta)

Fairy Tale do taste nice. Pretty much like the oriental eggplants. I just get excited by them because they're so pretty and the grow in clusters. OOoooh. Make me shiver just to say it....clusters!
Somehow it's more exciting to have many of a small something than one great big one.

Farmerdilla, do you think the slim jim's are comparable to the Fairly tale? Same size and clusters? I wouldn't think that there would be that much difference in taste. Have you noticed any difference from one asian variety to another? I haven't.
Is there any notable reason to grow one over the other?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 9:01AM
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Yes I have found some noticable difference in taste, but mostly in size and shape. Some are just to skinny for my uses. Other vary in productivity. Ichiban is hard to beat.
Longship Does have very tender skin but is 1 inch or less in diameter.
Slim Jim is fairly typical of asian eggplant in falvor and skin thickness, but is incredibly small.
Money Maker # 2 is a shorter fatter Japanese eggplant. My wife likes it, because it is easier to prepare. Not as productive as Ichiban.
My favorite of the green calyx types. Ballaroi, an eggshaped Italian eggplant.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 11:01AM
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I LOVED 'Hansel' last year - grew it in a whiskey barrel, and it was very productive. Skins were tender enough to eat.

This year, I'm having trouble with it. I'll be adding a separate post w/pix - the fruit has brown streaks all over the skin, even on the tiniest new fruit. Never seen this with my eggplants before. In the same barrel, I also have purple 'Orlando' and white 'Gretel', and both of them are just fine! Just harvested my first of each of the three, so I'll be grilling shortly...

But I loved 'Hansel' last year!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 3:05PM
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Grilling update: Brown streaky 'Hansels' were just fine inside, once they were peeled. Sliced them longwise, mixed with slices of an unpeeled 'Orlando' (so I could tell the difference & compare the taste), tossed with olive oil & garlic & grilled in a basket...

Yum. (For the record, tho, the 'Orlando' skin was pretty tough.)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 11:56PM
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Grew "Hansel" last year (2010).

A definite winner.

Plant never got more than 4' tall, yet small fruits came up in clusters all the way through the autumn. Eggplants themselves were tasty and nearly seedless, and as advertised, they could be picked at nearly any size.

Only downside here was that the fruits didn't yield good enough seeds for me to save some to replant this year!

Worse, the place where I got this last year isn't stocking them this year.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 3:00PM
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beetlejuicevoyager(5a Montreal (Quebec) area)

I know that this post dates back to 2011 but I have grown Hansel for a few years now, that is I grew Hansel, kept the seeds for the year after and used my seeds since then. I was happily surprized that the plants obtained with the seeds presented the same characteristics than the original plants so I now call this variety Hansel just the same.

These little eggplants are wonderful, the plants are so productive and grow early as compared to other varieties of eggplants. Now, I grow these every year.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:53PM
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I would say eggplant is the major crop in my garden beside the tomatoes. Last season I grew Black beauty, Amadeo and orlando hybrid. We fry it in oil and put on it tomato sauce. we boil it and stuff it with red pepper and we pickel it too. I love it so all my family. But I never grew Hansel I am planning to grow some this year. As for the skin the boiled one the skin is soft and the fried ones if the skin is hard I peel it.Last year I went crazy I had about 20 plants.We had a lot of it enough for my family and my kids families and gave some to the soup kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:01PM
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beetlejuicevoyager(5a Montreal (Quebec) area)

Well, if you love eggplants, try this one: in an ironcast large skillet, put olive oil, diced onions, then sliced eggplants, then tomatoes, pepper it well and put in the middle of your oven heated at 350F covered with a heavy cover (not aluminium because of the acid of the tomatoes). After 25 min, toss it a little so that the eggplants melt with the onions and tomatoes and cover with some cheese, cheddar, mozzarella or brick or what you have in the fridge. Bake for another 15 min uncovered. This is a delight and really, it is the basic recipe for other vegetable dishes - add celery, leeks, beans, anything that you have on hand.

Back to Hansel, I like it because it is a small eggplant, so I take 2 or 3 from the plant for the next meal and there is no leftover. We love eggplants too.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:45PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

My opinion on Hansel is that it is one of Seminis varieties so the money goes to Monsanto.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:24PM
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beetlejuicevoyager(5a Montreal (Quebec) area)

The seeds I have are my own seeds, harvested from fruits in my garden. I first bought this variety as plants (6 plants in a box) at the local coop. I keep naming my seeds Hansel but in reality, they are seeds from one of those initial 6 plants. There were enough seeds in one fruit to grow little eggplants similar to Hansel for at least 3 years in a row but last summer, I kept seeds from another fruit (3rd generation). They are now BeetleJuiceVoyager seeds.

I just found this on internet:
This variety was an All-America Selection in 2008, but you are right, the breeder is Seminis Vegetable Seeds, one of Monsanto's companies acquired in 2005. Don't we have to be looking everywhere nowadays? Who would have thought that Monsanto was behind eggplants?? I knew about corn but now, eggplants!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:55PM
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I grew Hansel last year. I bought it at a plant sale put on by the college horticulture department, so I feel I was supporting the college. The peel is a bit more chewy than larger eggplant, but it did produce well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mini-eggplant

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:34PM
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Monsanto/Seminis eggplant link below. It's not so hard to check on these things, and times are strange, so me must watch out for ourselves. Big brother is not really interested in the safety of your food.

Here is a link that might be useful: seminis eggplant

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:03AM
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beetlejuicevoyager(5a Montreal (Quebec) area)

On the other hand, the fact that Hansel is a F1 hybrid does not mean that it contains engineered genes. All the catalogs offer F1 and F2 hybrids for carrots, lettuces, brocoli, name it and gardeners have been growing them in their small vegetable gardens for years.

I guess I will have to rename my seeds so that they are not linked to the Hansel eggplant, as produced by Seminis.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 10:59AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

How are you saving hybrids and getting the same thing?

Seminis supplies normal garden seed to all the seed companies except those who refuse to buy from them now that Monsanto bought them. They have very famous and very good hybrids but I won't give Monsanto any of my money.

Here is a link that might be useful: Monsanto free seed companies

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 12:00AM
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beetlejuicevoyager(5a Montreal (Quebec) area)

The fruits that I harvested the first year were produced on F1 hybrids. Their seeds produced plants and fruits that looked very much alike the little eggplants obtained the previous year, so I kept seeds from them. Last summer, I grew eggplants from those seeds and still, the little eggplants were pretty much alike the originals, so I kept seeds again. Would you like to try them?

I am a member of the Seeds of Diversity program. Do you honestly think that I knew at the time of my first try of Hansel eggplants that they were produced by a subsidiary company of Monsanto? I was shopping at the local plant shop for eggplants because that year, I had been away in April and I was unable to start my seedlings as I usually do.

Now that I have my own seeds of a small eggplant, a variety that is delicious, very productive and early in the season, I will keep on harvesting the seeds. I think that with time, the personnality of the original parents will take over, leaving descendants similar to Hansel but not F1. Eventually, the seeds should stabilize their characteristics. If not, I will simply discard the seeds.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 12:55AM
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