Eggplants are a wonderful vegetable. They have a super satisfying texture, a great flavor, and they have to be one of the most versatile veggies out there!
From ultra-healthy plant-based dishes to unbelievably cheesy casseroles, eggplant is the perfect addition.
However, eggplants can be quite an intimidating ingredient too. In particular, they tend to spoil if they aren’t stored in perfect conditions.
Sometimes it can feel as if your perfectly ripe, bright, and firm eggplant turned into a soft, dull, and unusable veggie overnight!
If this is something you’ve struggled with, not to worry! Check out the information below. We’ve covered everything, from how to refrigerate an eggplant to how to pick the ripest eggplant in the grocery store. Take a look!
Pick The Best
Obviously, storing an eggplant properly is one of the best ways to keep it fresh for longer. However, if it’s longevity you’re after, you will also need to make sure that you pick the freshest possible eggplant.
Eggplants are rather dramatic vegetables. They enjoy very specific conditions and aren’t keen on being removed from the vine.
That isn’t to say that you need to grow your own eggplants for the best results (although, this could be a fun project).
Although, it does mean that you should keep an eye out for any signs of deterioration in the grocery store. Specifically, to find the perfect eggplant, there are two things that you should pay attention to:
- The Texture And Shine
Generally, when it comes to eggplants, a smooth and shiny surface is best. If you notice eggplants with dull skin or wrinkles, be sure to steer clear of those ones!
These are signs that the eggplant was harvested a while ago, or that it is just a bad quality product.
- The Stem
Most of the eggplant should be a bright, deep purple color. However, the stem end of the plant should be more of a green color. In fact, keep an eye out for any signs of deterioration around the stem, such as mold or softness.
- The Firmness
Eggplants should definitely be more on the firm side. They should be more firm to touch than a ripe tomato, for instance. However, they shouldn’t be rock solid either.
- The Density
Finally, when it comes to eggplants, the denser the better! As such, make sure to weigh a few similar-sized, good-looking eggplants in the store – the heavier one will likely be the freshest!
How To Store Eggplant
So, you’ve found the perfect eggplant. If you don’t plan on using it the second you come home from the grocery store, it is now necessary to store it in the best possible conditions.
We’ve listed three different ways that you can do so. Check them out below!
- Keep It At Room Temperature
This is probably the most accessible way to store eggplant, as you can simply store it on your countertop! However, for the best results possible, we recommend wrapping your eggplant in a paper bag or paper towels.
The wrapping serves to soak up any moisture that will threaten the longevity of your eggplant. As such, it is important that you don’t keep your eggplant in any kind of plastic bag or wrapping.
This can cause the eggplant to spoil much quicker.
- Put It In A Temperature-Controlled Room
This is probably the best way to store an eggplant, but it is not the most accessible method (which is why we’ve placed it at number two). However, if you can use this method, we cannot recommend it enough.
As discussed previously, eggplants are dramatic vegetables. They don’t enjoy extreme temperatures and prefer to be kept in the shade.
In fact, a room that is between 50 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for eggplants. Generally, dry, cool, well-ventilated pantries, basements, or cupboards do the trick well.
- Throw It In The Fridge
Finally, if the other two options aren’t available to you, it is possible to store eggplants in the fridge. However, this method does come with a few caveats.
First, be sure to store the eggplant separately from products that produce ethylene.
Ethylene is a gas that is expelled by fruits such as tomatoes, bananas, apples, avocados, and mangos. This gas can cause eggplants to spoil very quickly.
Additionally, the cold temperature may damage the eggplant’s quality. For the best results, make sure to wrap the eggplant in a paper towel and place it in an unsealed plastic container before putting it in the fridge.
Airflow is necessary for the longevity of eggplants, so make sure it has room to breathe!
When we store an eggplant in the refrigerator, we place it in a container as described above, and we make sure to give it its own drawer.
This way, we know for sure that it isn’t at risk of absorbing ethylene. For us, this method keeps the eggplant fresh for up to four days.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Store Fresh-Cut Eggplant?
Generally, we recommend storing your eggplant whole, as this way, it will stay fresher for longer.
However, if you have some freshly chopped eggplant that you need to store, you can put it in the refrigerator. You should store it in a plastic container that allows for some airflow. This way, it will stay fresh for around 3 to 4 days.
When Should You Not Eat Eggplant?
If you’re concerned that your eggplant has gone bad, be sure to keep an eye out for dark spots. These dark spots are a sure-fire sign that your eggplant is on its way out.
If these dark spots are coupled with an unpleasant smell, it is, unfortunately, time to throw it out!
Do You Have To Peel Eggplant Before Freezing?
Yes. To freeze an eggplant, it is necessary to peel it first. Once it is washed and peeled, you should also slice the eggplant into ⅓ inch pieces. Following this, it is also necessary to blanch the eggplant slices in boiling water and lemon juice for 4 minutes.
Once the eggplant slices have been drained, you can place them in a freezer-safe container, such as plastic bags, and put them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. Note that it is necessary to thaw the eggplant before cooking.
As you have probably understood by now, eggplants are a very delicate and particular plant. However, they are a super delicious, texturally satisfying, and wonderfully versatile ingredient.
As such, we think the extra effort is definitely worth it! We hope this article helps you get the most out of your eggplants.
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