I’ve thought long and loose about which seed would get my vote for the 2011 One Seed Chicago seed competition and I tell ya, it was close. For those not yet in the loop or not in Chicago, the three contenders are:

  • radish
  • Swiss chard
  • eggplant

Well, radish just wasn’t in the running for me for several reasons: I don’t ever crave radish, not that many great recipes beyond salads use it, and well, sometimes it’s even too spunky for the SnarkyVegan.

So then I had to look at Swiss chard. I do like Swiss chard and it is arguable a powerhouse of nutrition. But. I can’t get my husband to eat it and it’s really just a big green leaf with a variety of colored stems. Nothing awesome in the way of varieties like radishes or eggplants. So that pretty much does it for me.

Eggplant gets my vote because it does everything I want:

  • Tons of colorful varieties and not all of them are purple.
  • Lots of sizes, shapes and flavors.
  • Incredibly versatile for recipes.
  • And my fave, when roasted slowly and foreeeeever with a little olive oil, it takes on a whole other level of caramelly, smokey yumminess that neither the radish nor the chard can pull off. It has the ability to become something entirely different and work with the flavors surrounding it.

To prove my point about variety, here are a few selections from two of my favorite seed vendors, Cubits and Seed Saver’s Exchange:

Cubits' Organic Little Finger Eggplants, just perfect for roasted salads.

Cubits' Organic Rosa Bianca, don't let her delicate blush fool you.

Cubits' Organic Snowy White Eggplant, wake her up with some garlic and black olives!

Seed Saver's Goyo Kumba Eggplant, an exotic little red perfect for stacking with tomatoes for an elegant plate.

Seed Saver's Striped Togo Eggplant, isn't that just cool!?

Seed Saver's Lao Green Striped Eggplant, goes through yellow and green color stages with groovy striping.

Seed Saver's Red Ruffled Eggplant, just when you though they were all smooth.

Seed Saver's Udumalapet Eggplant, this is one I had to have this year. Starts out green and purple and ripens to yellow and lavender.

And these are just a FEW of the eggplant options available. I’m also growing Turkish Orange, White egg and Black egg varieties.

So you can see how eggplant has both the wide varieties of radishes AND the versatility of Swiss chard. The best of both worlds! Which is of course what I had in mind for the unofficial #teamEggplant logo (feel free to snag this logo and use for promoting #teameggplant or oneseedchicago.com):

A couple of smaller sizes in case you need them: