Melanzana Bianca Siciliana (White Sicilian Eggplant)
Large, white eggplant from a small farm in Sicily, Italy. Smooth, shiny white skin with creamy inner pulp, this eggplant is an excellent and delicious part of a Mediterranean cuisine. Bread and fry it, make an eggplant parmigiana, or simply roast it with olive oil and salt.
While eggplant was first domesticated in East and South Asia, it has been essential Italian eating for centuries. However, in the 13th century, Italian folklore considered eggplants a cause of insanity, and Melanzana was sometimes called mela insana: mad apple. We find that growing this large, white Sicilian eggplant actually is grounding and delicious.
Days to maturity: 65
Seeds per pack: 40
Germination rate: 60% on 09/30/2021
Planting / harvesting notes
These are heat-loving and seeds should be started indoors about 1/4" deep, about 8 weeks before the last frost. Transplant into garden well after the danger of frost. The growing characteristics are similar to most eggplants. The plants reach about 2-3 feet tall and should be planted 12 inches apart. They need full sun and fertile soil. Staking helps as the plants become heavy. The eggplants should be picked when they are about 3 inches long. They must be picked regularly to keep production and ensure they don't over ripen. For seed saving, the fruits ripen to yellow.
Seed keeping notes
Eggplants are generally self-pollinating, though we isolate different varieties of the same species by 50 feet, in hopes that flying insects will not cross pollinate them unexpectedly. Eggplant seeds are ripe when the fruits get far past their edible stage, and have turned another color, in this case yellow. Cut the fruit, scrape out seeds (perhaps through a heavy-duty screen) into a vessel, add a little water (1-2" is probably plenty) to your seeds and pulp to keep them from drying out, and allow them to ferment away from direct sunlight. Fermentation is not necessary with eggplants, but it makes seed cleaning a bit easier. Ideally, you will stir the concoction every day for 3-5 days. In the end, add more water to fill the vessel, stir one final time, and allow to settle. Pour off the floating material and then strain the seeds through a strainer. Sometimes, you will need to add more water and pour off the floating material several times until the water is clear and you can see the seeds sunken at the bottom. Squeeze dry the strained seeds in a towel, and then lay out to dry on a labeled screen or paper product in a ventilated place away from direct sunlight for a week or two.