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Jan 16, 2008 08:36 PM

Where can I find really ( really!) seedless (male) eggplant

Has anyone come across any vendor @ any farmer's market selling truly seedless eggplant? I'd love to cook some "baingan bharta" but the seeds in regular eggplant do not agree with me. This kind of eggplant is very common in India, it is only available from Oct-Feb, is very dark purple and the exterior kind of looks like an italian eggplant. But it is seedless inside . The flesh is a very light tint of green. There might be a few remnants of seeds but these seeds are so soft that they can be crushed between 2 fingers to a pulp. These seeds melt and disappear when the eggplant is roasted. I have tried all supermarket chains, flea markets and farmers markets in south and east bay. I hope some farmer/vendor reads this!!!

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  1. Have you tried ethnic markets? Start with the Indian ones if you've seen it in India, but it strikes me as something that may appeal to the Japanese or may also be routine in SE Asian cuisine, so some of the dedicated Thai markets might have it. Some of the Chinese supermarkets are also quite large, and since they're everywhere it might be worth a shot.

    Battambang Market
    339 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA

    Bombay Bazar
    548 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA

    6 Replies
    1. re: SteveG

      Thanxx SteveG
      Bombay bazar has the small round variety which is always seeded.
      I should have also mentioned this :
      I have tried almost all Indian and Asian grocery stores up and down Elcamino real, Chinatown in Oakland, farmer's market in Jack london square, farmer's market in Japantown of San Jose, flea markets of San jose, & even Sacramento, Berkeley Bowl, restaurant suppliers of Indian & Pakistani restaurants..... it has been almost a year now with no luck. I have visited some farmers in Hollister and Morgan Hill area and even requested if they would import and farm this variety as an experiment.
      I think that we have found ways to work around the sandpaper like taste and texture of seeded eggplant. But someone somewhere must have the male "fruits" of this plant.
      Once foodies get a taste of a superior tasting eggplant, we will be asking ourselves " what were we eating all these years? And why?"

        1. re: JiyoHappy

          The farmer's markets at this time of year should not have fresh eggplant since this is the dead of winter. I think that the summer and fall are the times to look.

            1. re: wolfe

              He is talking Oakland, San Jose, and Sacramento. Although it is the right time to start seedlings of eggplant, you definitely won''t find them now.

          1. re: JiyoHappy

            Milkpail in Mountain View claims on their website that if you can't find it they will order it for you. You might try there. However, I'd make sure to try to contact someone in top managment there rather than just the product clerks.

            While it is the wrong season, you might try talking to some of the farmers at the Marin or SF Ferry Plaza farmers market who might be more open to a new item.

        2. Thanxx all. I tried this wknd again but no luck. No one seems to be growing this commercially , in the bay area. But I did manage to shock and surprise a few vendors in the process. Will keep looking anyway!

          1 Reply
          1. re: JiyoHappy

            Growing what commercially? Baby eggplant? Indian eggplant? Of course they are.

            They are not, however, harvesting it in January in the bay area. While the bay area could reasonably be considered subtropical, we do get frost and such in the winter making it a summer crop only (as eggplant is in most of the non-tropical world). It's a warm weather crop. It's also a relatively perishable fruit that doesn't ship especially well.

          2. All this eggplant talk got me to wanting some so I grabbed a couple of slender ones (I've learned those are the males, fewer seeds) at Bryan's Market, Calif & Laurel. When I got home, I glanced at the receipt and could not believe I'd paid $8.50 for 2 small eggplants. I called them up and they asked me if they were the slender ones from Holland. I said they were slender all right. So, the price per pound was $6.99. Even Whole Foods does not charge that much. At WF they have two kinds, one is $1.99 lb and the other $3.99 lb. I'm going to pay a lot more attention in the future. Prices are so hard to see and I certainly don't think these eggplants are going to taste better than cheaper eggplants.

            6 Replies
            1. re: walker

              I think there is a real market for GOOD QUALITY produce from all over the world in our bayarea. Someone should takeup this farming opportunity.
              In case of eggplants, I have found recipes from all over the world, which in their original form are so simple but we here end up adding so much acidic element just to make them taste like something, b/c we do not have the seedless varieties available.

              1. re: JiyoHappy

                We have--arguably and plausibly--the best produce markets (eg Berkeley Bowl, Monterey Market) and farmers' markets in the United States.

                1. re: xanadude

                  I agree 100% that we have the best produce markets . But they can only sell what the farmers give them to sell.

                  1. re: JiyoHappy

                    I think xanadude's previous post


                    is worth noting here. When eggplants are IN SEASON one can find several varieties in the local produce markets. Same goes for stone fruits, pears, and apples. For example, I don't see any Taylor pears or Dapple Dandy pluots at the markets in March.

                    I don't think local growers are are passing up the opportunity to grow less common eggplant varieties, but rather they are passing up costs involved in producing eggplants out of season.

                2. re: JiyoHappy

                  I tried one of those expensive ones from Bryan's; it was seedless but not worth $4.25 each. Go there and get one if you want to see if it's what you crave.

                  1. re: walker

                    Thanxx, will drive to SF when I see the sun!

              2. Japanese eggplant doesn't usually have many if any seeds. It's a hot weather plant though so you won't find anything locally grown until summer.

                And I want to point out that female plants are the ones with fruit. While 'male' plants can have flowers, they do not produce fruit - because there is no ovary hence no fruit.