Seed Saving: intermediate
Red Eggplant from Rotonda (Solanum aethipicum)
Red Eggplant of Rotonda (Solanum aethipicum): from Africa to Lucania, a very particular cultivar of Ethiopian eggplant. It's named after the Lucanian town that made it a DOP. Probably imported from Africa following the occupation of Ethiopia in the 1900s.
It was in risk of disappearing for a while, but now, thanks to the protection of the Slow Food Foundation, it has been restored and saved.
It's cultivated in many Italian regions, and has an area of around 200 km all around the Pollino Park, where it has Protected Origin Designation. The fruit, which resembles a tomato does not have the typical taste of eggplants, it is slightly spicier while the consistency is a little more leathery.
In addition to its organoleptic characteristics that make it the queen of many preparations it does not oxidize after being cut, as it has lots of antioxidants. The plant, rustic, does not require frequent irrigation and doesn't tolerate water stagnation.
To be sown in spring, but winter sowing in protected crops is also very good.
From Africa to Lucania:
This cultivar of the Ethiopian eggplant was imported in the first half of the 18th century, following the occupation of Ethiopia; probably out of curiosity because it looks so much like a tomato, in Lucan dialect it is called “Merlingiana a pummadora”.
It acquired its current characteristics through selection which made it more suitable for consumption and granted it the name Rossa di Rotonda.
It was very close to disappearing but thanks to the hard work of Pollino farmers, and the Slow Food Organization, who obtained the Designation of Protected Origin, it is now successfully cultivated.
A sample of the potential of traditional and ancient varieties.