Watch My Food Grow ~ A South Florida Raised Vegetable Garden

Florida Backyard Raised Vegetable Garden

Attack of the Killer Eggplant

June 20th, 2014 by Lila Steinhoff

Eggplant Injury

Many of my friends know that I spent the last couple of weeks preparing for surgery on the middle finger of my right hand. Just today, one  asked how it turned out. A second friend was completely surprised and wanted to know what she had missed.

What follows is the story of my eggplant injury experience… not your usual strange, creepy story.

Prolific Eggplant

Gardening partner Bill and I planted a few different things for the growing season that began in October, 2013… among them eggplant… Japanese eggplant and the classic eggplant. Actually, eggplant was Bill’s choice, but I have not been disappointed… attacked, but not disappointed.

classic eggplant

Classic Eggplant

Both grew incredibly well and have produced way more eggplant than I expected from just two plants.

Japanese eggplant

Japanese Eggplant and other Veggies

More Recipes, Please…

I was sort of ho-hum about eggplant before I planted it in the garden. My favorite Italian restaurant used it in a really good pasta dish, but I had had little success cooking it at home. There was that soak and salt and drain business to take out the bitterness… too much work for something I didn’t like that well anyway.


Classic Eggplant

However, we found that what we took right from our garden to the pan was not a bit bitter. Apparently, fresh makes a difference.

I looked up recipes for eggplant Parmesan and have become quite competent at cooking that. Now, I am always in the market for more ways to fix eggplant.

sliced eggplant

Sliced Eggplant

Holy Crap! Thorns!

However,  I am NOT competent at cutting ripe eggplants off the plants, and recently, I suffered the consequences.

eggplant thorns

Thorns on Eggplant

Did you know there are thorns on eggplants?

thorns on eggplant flower

Thorns on Eggplant Flower

And even on eggplant flowers? There are, and they are as bad as a cactus!

How It Happened

While cutting eggplant in the garden, I rubbed my finger against the green cap and got a finger full of thorns. I pulled out all I could see, washed the finger and put ointment on it.

Occasionally, I felt something odd in my finger, but nothing hurt… until three weeks later. I felt something sticking me under the skin. If there was a thorn still there, it should have festered out by then, but instead it began to hurt and was getting red. I tried the old alcohol and needle trick to remove the thorn. I opened nearly half an inch of skin, but didn’t see a thing.

Spoiler Alert! Gross Stuff Follows

Since I now had an open wound on a finger that really hurt, I began soaking it in hot salt water. The following morning, Sunday, the open place had become white and a hard shell had formed… weird. The infection was worse, so I began taking an antibiotic and kept soaking it.

thorn injury

Soaking Thorn Injury

Went to my dermatologist first thing Monday morning. It was exactly a month since I had gotten the thorn in my finger. She took one look at it, prescribed a stronger antibiotic and sent me to a hand surgeon.

The hand surgeon said it had to come out, but I needed a CT scan first. Since the thorn had been in the finger a month, he had to check for infection in the bone before surgery. The CT scan showed the growth but no thorn. There was no bone involvement, so surgery was scheduled for Friday the following week. In the meantime, I continued to soak the finger in hot salt water.

No Wonder They Use Dawn on those Oily Baby Ducks!

Since husband Ken does not cook or wash dishes, and I knew I could not put my hand into water until the stitches were out, I cooked several meals ahead on Wednesday. I finished the evening by scrubbing pans using Dawn dish detergent. I was drying my hands when I noticed that the hard white shell on my finger was gone, and so was the pain. There was a small divot in my finger, but the skin was dry and smooth… no open place where the growth had been.

Strange and Relieved

I called the surgeon on Thursday to cancel Friday’s surgery. He wanted to see the finger, so I ran over to his office. He had no explanation for what happened to the growth. I have to rub the finger with vitamin E for a couple of weeks, because he wants to be sure no scar tissue forms over the nerve that runs under the divot. Weird experience, but I’m very relieved that no cutting was necessary.






Tags:   · · · 5 Comments

Leave a Comment

5 responses so far ↓