There’s a lot of eggplants out there but red eggplants are a rarity. Many eggplants that bare the word ‘red’ or even pink appended to their names are simply violet versions of the common purple eggplants.
True red eggplants are sometimes referred to as scarlet eggplants, they range in color from a pale scarlet to varying hues of pumpkin orange, tomato, and even fire engine red.
Some of these botanical bouquets are best used as aesthetic eye candy for landscape scenarios and floral arrangements while others are tasty appendages to the culinary realm.
Turkish eggplant looks like a ripe persimmon or even a squishy mini pumpkin, but once they’ve reached their stage of ripe red maturity they aren’t very good for cooking.
In the immature green stage, however, they are delectable when properly prepared.
Related: Baby Yellow Eggplants
Related: Common Eggplant Pests
1. Black Stem Eggplant
Grown primarily for ornamental purposes. The stems as its name indicates are black but the eggplants are pumpkin orange to tomato red. Used in floral arrangements and landscaping purposes.
2. Cannibal Tomato Eggplant
Eggplants that look like tomatoes in varying stages of ripeness. Some say they look like miniature pumpkins. They are called cannibal tomatoes because as per legend, in the pacific tropics from whence they hail, they were eaten by cannibals along with their victims.
I would never eat another person and I will never eat these little eggplants again either.
They are seethingly bitter and just downright nasty tasting, best grown as an ornamental.
3. Brazilian Oval Orange Eggplant
Fruits are born in hefty clusters it is very productive. The eggplants morph from green to orange to scarlet as it matures. For culinary purposes, it is best harvested as it is in the process of changing from green to orange.
4. Cookstown Orange Eggplant
Another variety that looks somewhat like a Tomato. They start green and ripen to a tomato reddish-orange with green stripes. Good taste, not bitter if harvested young if allowed to fully mature the seeds give it a bitter taste. Edible and ornamental.
5. Gilo or Jilo Eggplant
Aka Solanum melongena ‘Red Egg’ is a South American heirloom eggplant. It ripens to a brilliant red and is about the size of a handball.
When properly prepared this variety can be fashioned into some tasty dishes. Like most red eggplant it is best used before full maturity to curtail the bitter taste that the seeds impart.
6. Goyo Kumba Eggplant
An African heirloom eggplant that produces abundant quantities of deep red tomato-like eggplants. Best used as an ornamental only.
7. Korean Red Eggplant
Small eggplants at only 6 oz. each maximum. The fruits like a tomato start out green and ripen to a tomato red. Best harvested before the seeds mature which is what gives red eggplants their bitter taste otherwise it works well only as an ornamental.
8. Pumpkin on a Stick Eggplant
Grown for ornamental purposes only. They are miniature eggplants that look like mini pumpkins and commonly used around the fall holidays.
9. Red Moroccan Eggplant
Next to impossible to find but it does exist. I tried an eggplant Parmesan variety once that was made with this variety and it knocked my socks off, but have been unable to locate a reliable seed source.
10. Red China Eggplant Beautiful and Edible
Fruits are similar to miniature pumpkins in appearance and prolifically produced on upright plants. When fully mature the eggplants are a fire engine red, but have lost much of their edible quality at this point. They are best picked when only a tad orange for culinary purposes.
11. Red Ruffled Eggplant
Known as Hmong Red eggplant is my favorite red eggplant. It looks like the byproduct of a Menage a trois between a tomato, pepper, and eggplant – if that were at all possible. Bitter tasting when fully mature, best harvested young.
12. Striped Toga Eggplant
Born in small clusters on a 3 – 4 foot bushy perennial plant. They start out yellow and gradually morph to Orange with green stripes. Grown largely as an ornamental they are also edible as any other eggplant is. Best picked before peak maturity.
Related: Eggplant Varieties