Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pumpkin on a Stick

Every Autumn, our local Trader Joes carries bunches of flowers which include a stick of miniature pumpkins. As it turns out, they aren't pumpkins at all, but rather eggplant! It's called Pumpkin on a Stick (but goes by many names: Hmong Eggplant, Red China Eggplant, Mock Tomato, Pumpkin Tree, Pumpkin Bush) and grows 3-4 feet tall on upright purple-throned stalks. The bitter, spicy fruit is edible and used in many Asian cuisines, but it's grown mainly as an ornamental here. The reddish fruit can be dried on the stalk which then take on the familiar orange hue. Learn how to grow it on and buy seeds at or Botanical Interests. I've planted some in my garden and will post some pictures this fall – IF all goes well. (Note: I'm known as The Green Reaper at my local nursery.)

The color of the fruit goes from green to yellow to bright red. Only after it's cut and dried does the orange color become more pronounced.

Here's a couple of arrangements using the Pumpkin on a Stick.