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Eggplant: Male or Female

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5 replies to this topic

#1 Shel_B

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 07:22 AM

I have heard that male and female eggplants taste different and have different chracteristics which migh be considered for different cooking methods. Is this correct? What are the different characteristcs?

Yesterday a friend showed me a very simple method of preparing eggplant and it's perfect for some of our uses. The eggplant is sliced fairly thin lengthwise, cheese and thin-sliced tomato is put on it, sprinkled with herbs, and then baked. We can use this on sandwiches. Is there any type of eggplant that may be better for this technique? Thanks!

 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

#2 feedmec00kies

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 07:41 AM

Pretty sure there's no such thing as a "male" or "female" eggplant (or any other fruit, for that matter). Botanically, they are all have seeds unless they're bred out because it's a means of procreation. Moreover, eggplants self-pollinate, so the plant itself has both male and female organs in each flower.

Seems to be some thing about there being more or less seeds being attributed to gender, though. Since the seeds are a bit bitter, that would make the more seedless fruits tastier.

Edit: I do not believe that there are gendered eggplants. If you want fewer seeds, the general rule is to look for younger eggplants, since the seeds are less mature.

Edit again: The "bred out" comment about seeds is about fruit and vegetables in general (like watermelon), not eggplant.

Edited by feedmec00kies, 02 February 2012 - 07:45 AM.

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#3 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 08:31 AM

OK, coming at this from a botanical background, all eggplants are hermaphroditic, and there's never any such thing as a male fruit, eggplant or not. Fruits are, by definition, female reproductive organs when it comes to plants (if you want the technical thing, they're actually the plant's swollen ovaries). Some people however do refer to "male" eggplants as those that are longer, and "female" eggplants as the rounder types. I'm not sure how that got started, and it's completely botanically spurious, which irks me. :hmmm:

When it comes to using eggplants, c00kies is exactly right - younger fruits will have fewer mature seeds in them, which lowers their bitterness considerably. But if you're already slicing your eggplants thinly, why not salt and press them? Then, regardless of the age of the fruit when it was harvested, it will always be tender and relatively sweet (the salt pulls out and neutralizes the nicotinic alkaloids that make the flesh taste bitter). The white-skinned cultivars tend to be less bitter to begin with than the purple ones, but that's a personal observation and your palate may differ.
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

#4 liuzhou

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 09:33 AM

Reading the thread title, before reading the actual thread, I mentally listed a number of highly relevant points.

However, when I did the sensible thing and read the thread, I discovered that all my points had been more than adequately covered by people more knowledgeable than me, a group which covers most of the population of our planet.

I can only add that eggplants or aubergines come in all shapes, sizes and even colours. The more phallic ones may be referred to as 'male' and the more curvaceous as 'female', but they are neither really male or female.

Right now, I have a bunch of beautiful white eggplants on the shelf. I will describe them as female, but if I tell you why, I will be banned! :blink:

#5 Jaymes

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 10:06 AM

So, wait a minute...

Are y'all telling me there's nothing to the "round belly button is male; slit belly button is female" thing?

"And you, you're just a stinker."

#6 Darienne

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 10:50 AM

We in this house are eggplant lovers and I am going to try Shel_B's interesting recipe. Never thought of doing that. Thanks.

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates