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General information and discussion about cultivating eggplants/aubergines.

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Old February 15, 2007   #1
Alberta
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Default Saving eggplant seeds

Sorry if this sounds silly, but I've never saved eggplant seeds. Do they require fermenting as in tomato seeds? Would they be better from an over ripe fruit? Any info would be appreciated, thanks in advance.
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Old February 15, 2007   #2
Grub
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Hi,

I am going to try this soon, too.

Go to Page 1 of this subject and find the thread: A Few Things About Eggplants by NCTomatoman... or click here for answers... and see his site... http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=167
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Old February 16, 2007   #3
Alberta
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Default saving seeds of eggplant

Thanks Grub for the reply and the link.
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Old September 24, 2007   #4
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I've seen the question posed several times as to what a "mature" eggplant that is ready for seedsaving looks like, so I thought I'd post a picture of one.


Click for Larger Size


This is Kashalot, which is a large, dark purple-black variety. It can take a long time for eggplant to turn a golden or yellow-brown, so be patient. They will also be somewhat soft to the touch at this point.

There might be other ways to save eggplant seed, but what works for me is to cube the mature ripe eggplant up (I peel first), throw in a blender with lots of water, and blend away until I have a slurry.

Then I pour some of the mixture into a large cottage cheese container, add more water, wait a few seconds for seeds to settle, then carefully pour off anything non-seed. I keep adding more water, and carefully pouring off the pulp until seeds are clean. Just like tomato seeds, I dump eggplant seeds onto a noncoated paper plate and allow to dry a couple of weeks before storing.

No, a blender will not cut or damage the seeds (because they are so small), this method can also be used for tomatillos or ground cherries.
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Old September 24, 2007   #5
Grub
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Thanks Suze,

That does look nice and ripe and ready to harvest.

Interesting technique re the blender... my first thought was the seeds would get chopped but I see you've put such fears to rest.

I just split them lengthways, find the seed veins, and flick them out with my fingers or a spoon or screwdriver. Then I dry them.

This is my first year saving eggplant seeds and some are very fertile, but others aren't germinating at all. Mostly I've been successful, but I think there's room for improvement.

The bigger varietes are easier to save seeds from than the small long ones. Some like Waimanelo long have tiny seeds and not much joy there.

Thanks, Grub.
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Old September 24, 2007   #6
Suze
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grub View Post
Interesting technique re the blender... my first thought was the seeds would get chopped but I see you've put such fears to rest.

I just split them lengthways, find the seed veins, and flick them out with my fingers or a spoon or screwdriver. Then I dry them.

This is my first year saving eggplant seeds and some are very fertile, but others aren't germinating at all. Mostly I've been successful, but I think there's room for improvement.
I've tried just digging them out of the eggplant before, but that has not worked out too well for me. Must be your delicate touch, Grubs , because I usually end up with a mess.

A few years ago, I read about using a blender to process tomatillo seeds and was skeptical; figured it would chop the seeds for sure. But when it worked, I thought I'd give it a go for eggplant too. You know how when you blend up strawberries to make a fruity drink and the seeds are still there in the mix? Like that, I think. I do doubt this would work for vegetables with larger seeds, like cucumbers.

I germination tested my blender processed seeds this year, and ended up with 80% germination (over 10 days outside in my warm climate), which is fairly decent for eggplant, I think. Might have been a little more if I had waited two weeks.

I've also found I get much better germ results (in the spring) with both peppers and eggplant, if I just go ahead and use a heat mat.
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Old September 24, 2007   #7
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I let them get good and yellow, fill a bowl with water, cut the fruit in half, submerge the fruit and work my fingers around the seed lines. The flesh and bad seeds seem to float to the surface - those that sink are put through a sieve, they are dried on plates....I think it depends upon the ripeness of the fruit, but I've approached 100% this way up to 3 years after saving.
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Old September 24, 2007   #8
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Craig, mine never turn all the way yellow. The pictured fruit was one of the very first fruits that set this season, and I purposely left it on quite a long time to see if it would ever turn fully yellow. It never did. Maybe I'm not being patient enough!

Would love to see a picture of a yellow one, if you can take one this year to post.
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Old September 24, 2007   #9
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Suze you have to leave them on for a VERY LONG TIME.

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Old September 26, 2007   #10
orflo
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When the fruits are very ripe, I pick them and pound on them with a mallet, all the way round. When they burst open, it's far easier to pick out the seeds. I let them dry and refrigerate them when they are dry, only for a few days. That way they have had the 'winter experience' and they germinate better in spri ng, I've had seeds refusing to germinate the first year after seed harvest (which is in fact six or seven months), and they did germinate the second year. When I do the refrigeration trick, I didn't have that problemany more,
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Old March 16, 2008   #11
Biscombe
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Sorry for butting in here, how can you be sure of pure seeds, do you isolate the flowers like peppers?
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Old March 16, 2008   #12
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If you are growing more than one variety of eggplant, you might want to isolate like you would with peppers or bag the blooms with tulle or organza before they open.

Another way (less certain), is to only save seed from eggplants that set when pollinators are low in your area. For me, that is early in the season. Your mileage may vary.
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Old July 29, 2008   #13
DeanRIowa
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I would like to save seed from an eggplant, so I am going to allow one fruit to overripen.

Will the plant still continue to produce other fruits, or will it consider it's reproductive cycle complete?

thanks,
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Old February 7, 2012   #14
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An old thread, but I see Dean's question was never answered.

I've allowed one fruit per plant to ripen, and production of new fruits continued until frost. If there was any reduction in yield, it was not much. This was for the small, slim varieties like "Diamond" and "Casper". Not sure if the results would be the same for the larger varieties.

I too use the blender method for eggplant. Found one cheap in a second-hand store, and dulled the blades to use it for seed processing. The eggplant should be as ripe as possible; after picking, I let them sit on a shelf until they began to soften. I just use the blender pitcher itself to float off the debris. Like processing other wet seeds, the bad seeds float off the top with the debris, while the good seeds sink to the bottom.

Oh, and I've tried using the blender with cucumber seeds; there was too much damage. The wider seeds are unable to escape the blades, and end up bruised or broken. The blender worked well for the much smaller seeds of West India Gherkins & Mexican Sour Gherkins, though.
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Old April 30, 2012   #15
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Default eggplant seed longevity

Just a quick note about eggplant seed longevity. I am testing much of my older seed this year, gathering information on variety-specific storage life. I tested "Casper" and "Diamond" this year:

Casper - 2005 seed, 15/36, erratic germination
Diamond - 2005 seed, 35/36 - virtually 100%!!!

This was for seed processed by the above methods, and stored in ziplock freezer bags (with excess air squeezed out) placed in dark envelopes in an air-conditioned room. The seed was planted in plastic cells filled with soil-less starter mix, then placed in a lighted, temperature-controlled germination enclosure set to 75 degrees F.

Casper seems to have erratic germination by nature (even my original seed performed that way) but shows significant deterioration; I hope to renew it this year. After several years of testing, I have yet to find the limitations of Diamond's storage life.

Plant vigor, fruit ripeness, processing technique & storage conditions will all affect storage life, so as they say, "your results may vary". However, the vastly different results from just two varieties show that there may not be a "one size fits all" answer to the storage life for eggplant seed.
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