Sunday, July 09, 2006
Hope you enjoy this explicit information my husband provided about sexing eggplants.
Back when we had the house in Barnegate, New Jersey I would on the weekends make the three hour drive from the houseboat in NYC to the house on land. When I visited, Grandma Rose would always bake my favorite dish, Eggplant Parmesan. Making eggplant Parmesan was a two-day process, beginning with the purchase of the raw eggplants. Not as easy as you might think.
As soon as I got to the N.J. house I would get back in the car with Grandma Rose and visit four, five, or six farm stands looking for the proper eggplants. Grandma Rose would go to each farm stand table and pick up each eggplant, examine the bottom, and invariably put it back down. She would repeat this for every eggplant until all were examined, and we would drive on to the next farm stand. Whenever a vendor would ask Grandma what she was looking for her only comment would be, “The male has the seed.” Very often the vendor would ask me what she had said, so I would repeat, “The male has the seed.” After doing this week after week I pretty much lost forever the concept of embarrassment. But I also learned what Grandma Rose was doing and how to pick out eggplants.
(1924 picture of Grandma Rose, Uncle Johnny, and my mother Lee, at 10. Feel the love.)
On the bottom of the eggplant is a scar. If the scar is round you have a female eggplant which will be relatively seed free. If the scar is elongated (“Longer than it is wide”) you have a male eggplant, and by now we know “The male has the seed.”
Here we have a picture of EggplantusFemaleusBottomus showing the bottomside scar. This is the best eggplant we could find in our local store. Grandma Rose would have rejected this as not being female enough. But you get the point. What you want to see will look like a dime, it will be that well defined.
I eventually went on to grow my own eggplants in a backyard garden. This gave me my Saturdays back.
(1938 picture of Grandma Rose, with my mother and my “first” Grandpa, Francesco.)
Over the years I’ve mentioned the sexing of an eggplant to various people whenever the subject of making good eggplant parmesan came up. I’ve never found anyone who had ever heard about Female/Maleness in this respect. Then, just a few days ago, my homemaking wife took out “Suzanne’s Cooking Secrets” book by Suzanne Warner Pierot from the Library, and right there on page 88 was…
Female/Male isn’t mentioned but we know what this the author is talking about.
(1941. Grandpa Henry, Aunt Barbara, my father Francis/Frank, then Grandma Rose, my mother Lee, Grandma Anna, and in the middle, sister Rosanna.)
Don’t forget, “The male has the seed.”
Jim & Family