BLACK BEAUTY EGGPLANT is probably the heirloom your grandparents grew and it is on my "must grow" list every year. Large bulbous dark fruits with exceptional taste and so productive -- it often had up to 5 fruits at once and kept picked produces through the long season. It is strong - just winked at an early flea beetle problem and withstood Hurricane Irene this year without skipping a beat (it wasn't even staked!). The flowers are large and beautiful - What's not to love about this grand old eggplant? 80 days. 10 seeds.CHERRYGAL'S EASY EGGPLANT PARMESAN: This is so incredibly easy and freezes or reheats well. Fills a small casserole nicely. Slice a black beauty into 1/2" slices, skin on. Saute gently with finely mined garlic in olive oil until the eggplant is very tender. Cool and peel. Then layer in your casserole in two alternating layers with sliced large tomato, chopped basil, breadcrumbs, grated mozzarella or swiss cheese, parmesan cheese and finely sliced onion and salt/pepper to taste. Bake at 350 for about an hour or until done.
ABOUT EGGPLANT: Fresh grown eggplant is an altogether heavenly experience - nothing like the overgrown and tired versions you see in the grocery which taste like old athletic socks. As a member of the nightshade family, eggplant was centuries overcoming the fear that it was as poisonous as its cousins. That is why it acquired the nickname "mad apple." And it is true that a very immature eggplant contains toxins that can make you sick and you should never eat the foliage. With origins many believe trace to ancient China, the eggplant traveled to Europe coutesy of the Moor invasion of the 6th Century. But it was not until the 17th Century French Enlightenment that eggplant came into popularity, served pretty much as we eat it today. President Andrew Johnson claimed it as a favorite.
NUTRITIONAL: I used to think of eggplant as nothing more than a cheese delivery vehicle, but guess what? It is a wonderful source of important nutrition AND a dieter's best friend! Low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol but high in dietary fiber, eggplant is packed with folate, potassium, manganese, Vitamins C and K, Thiamin, Niacin, B-6, Panthothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper. It is so good for dieters in fact, that folks trying to GAIN weight are advised not to eat too many eggplants!
MEDICINAL: All members of the nightshade family - which includes tomatoes, potatoes, and all peppers except black pepper - contain some level of a toxin called solanine, an alkaloid that can caue diarrhea, heart failure, headache and vomiting in sensitive people. But if you are not sensitive there are wonderful benefits to be had in this gourmand delight. Eating eggplant can reduce swelling, reduce bleeding, comfort hemorrhoids and treat dysentery. High in bioflavonoids, it belongs in your cancer fighting arsenal. Here are two more interesting medicinal uses -- raw eggplant applied topically for scorpion bites. And a compress made of infused eggplant for frostbite!
GROWING TIPS: Eggsplants love warm weather - don't stress out your seedlings by planting too early you will only set back fruiting. Plant flowers nearby to encourage pollination and if fruit set is heavy, give some support to keep the fruits from the ground - a small stake will do. Eggplants are heavy feeders that require regular watering and respond very well to organic compost and fish emulsions. Keep the fruit picked so production continues. Use pruning shears and watch out for the spiny stems on some varities.
CHERRYGAL HEIRLOOM GARDEN SEEDS & PLANTS offer hundreds of heirloom and vintage open-pollinated varieties. Most have histories dating back centuries and are tried and true producers. Some are rare, or threatened with extinction. When you grow a plant from heirloom seed and save that seed, you are participating in a practice that goes back for generations. Our grandparents and their grandparents grew these varieties. Often the seeds were prized possessions carried to the New World when they emigrated.
Ever notice how most seed catalogs require you to buy much more seed than you could possibly use in a season? If you have a budget for garden seeds, this limits your choices! Although seeds can be viable for longer than one growing season, it requires that they be stored at a consistent temperature and humidity. Few of us do this. CherryGal sizes its seed packets for the home gardener, because we know you may want to grow 5 different lettuces, or three different corns, or 50 different vegetables, herbs and flowers -- and don’t want to have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it all! We strive to keep our overhead as low as possible so our seed prices can stay as low as possible. So we do not have a huge staff, no printed catalogues -- just very fine fresh heritage seeds at unbelievable prices. CHERRYGAL SEEDS ARE A TREMENDOUS BARGAIN!
Another important reason to grow a large variety of plants is that one of the chief culprits in honey bee colony collapse disorder seems to be that their immune systems are weakened by the prevalence of commercial mono-cropping. In other words, bees pollinating only one variety crop have a diet equivalent to eating only bread. Growing an abundant variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers will help sustain our precious honeybees!
All seeds offered are FRESH stock, with high germination rates, tested by the growers and myself. Varieties are specially selected for home gardeners. If you want the flavor you remember from grandma's kitchen garden or the beauty of her cottage flowers, choose CHERRYGAL HEIRLOOM SEEDS.
ABOUT OPEN-POLLINATED SEEDS . . . All CherryGal Heirloom Seeds are heirlooms (dating at least 100 years) or vintage (mid-20th Century or older) varieties, with an occasional modern variety included which I believe merits special attention. All CherryGal Heirloom Seeds are OPEN-POLLINATED. This means saved seed will be true to the parent. Don't be dazzled by the never-ending array of hybrid seeds promoted by gardening suppliers. First, seeds from that produce will not grow true to the parent -- you have to keep buying the hybrid seed (get the picture?). Second, most hybrids are developed for market – not home -- growers with an emphasis on extended shelf life, storage and shipping qualities -- NOT flavor, texture, fragrance and all those other elements that home growers seek.
All CHERRYGAL HEIRLOOM SEEDS come from reputable growers (with a preference given to small independent farms) and wherever possible ORGANIC suppliers (so noted). We do not knowingly offer any genetically modified seeds, and customers should understand that in order to be designed “certified organic” a seed is by law not genetically modified. By buying CHERRYGAL SEEDS you are supporting the growing worldwide movement of SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE and with a little practice you will be able to save even more money in the future by growing these open-pollinated varieties and saving seed for next year.
Please Note: CherryGal Heirloom Seeds are guaranteed to be fresh to the season stock, but are not guaranteed as to results. Sorry, but there are too many variables in gardening that can impact germination so please do not ask for a refund, replacement or to return unused seed. I always recommend that if you are new to gardening, or to a particular type of plant or variety, that you grow just a few at first to test your germination method. Email with any questions - I always respond promptly. Having said all that, we think you will be pleased and would like to hear about your gardening success!
SPECIAL NOTE TO MARKET GROWERS: We market to the home gardener, but we are happy to fill your order for multiples of any variety available. We do not offer bulk discounts. Also, we will not accept responsibility for crop failures, so please keep that in mind as purchase constitutes acceptance of 100% of the risk involved in growing any seed offered at CherryGal.com.
SHIPPING: This is important! Practiced gardeners know that the best time to order seeds is as early as possible in the season. I do not list varieties for sale that are not in hand, unless it is noted as "coming." I also add/subtract varieties all season long as inventory fluctuates, so check back often. We are constantly improving our fulfillment procedures to decrease the amount of time from order to shipping. We have added a SHIPPING BANNER to the front of the site and on every listing page which will give you the current time frame for shipping seeds. In off-season, seeds ship very quickly - usually the next business day. But as the prime season comes on, shipping can slow. Please consult this shipping banner before you purchase, so there will be no disappointments! We fulfill orders in the order received. Choosing priority or express shipping does not influence the speed with which your order is processed, only the speed with which it moves through the postal system. I package my seeds for shipping in a manner appropriate to the amount and type of seed - larger orders and larger seeds require more packaging. Whether you choose first class mail or priority shipping, your seeds will ship using a delivery confirmation number which will be supplied to you. Our checkout system is keyed to the US Postal System. For small seed orders, I recommend choosing FIRST CLASS mail at checkout. Larger orders (over 13 ounces) can ship either parcel post, or you may find PRIORITY MAIL to be less expensive, depending on your zipcode. (I gave up trying to figure out the US Postal System rates a long time ago).
I appreciate all my CherryGal.com customers, but have a special affinity for my seed customers. If you have a problem, please email me, using the contact links that are all over the website. Calling is likely to be a frustrating experience, as I do not have the staff to answer the phone, but your email will be promptly responded to.
Lastly, keep an eye out for my end of season sale which starts in June until all inventory is sold. It is always a bargain and helps us clear the shelves each season so that I am offering you only the freshest seeds year to year. Happy Gardening and don't forget to share your garden surplus with your local food bank.