Learn how to properly store eggplant to keep them fresh for longer periods of time. Discover the best techniques for preserving your eggplant harvest and enjoy your fresh produce all year-round.
Best ways to store eggplant from the garden
When it comes to harvesting eggplants, it's important to wait until they are ripe. A ripe eggplant should have a smooth, glossy skin with a deep, even color. When you press on the flesh of the eggplant, it should be firm but give slightly. To harvest eggplants, use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut the stem about an inch above the fruit. Be careful not to damage the fruit or the plant.Eggplant Begin: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planting Your Own Eggplant Garden
Preparing eggplant for storage
After harvesting your eggplants, it's important to prepare them for storage. Start by washing them thoroughly in cold water and patting them dry with a clean towel. Next, remove the stem and any leaves attached to the fruit. You can leave the skin on or peel it off depending on your preference. If you choose to peel the skin off, use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to carefully remove it.Extend the Life of Your Eggplant: Freezing Tips and Tricks
One of the best ways to store eggplants is by placing them in a cool, dry place. A pantry or root cellar works well for this purpose. If you don't have a pantry or root cellar, you can store them in a paper bag in your refrigerator's crisper drawer. Avoid storing them in plastic bags as this can cause them to spoil more quickly.
Another way to store eggplants is by freezing them. To do this, slice the eggplants into 1/4 inch rounds and blanch them in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water and immediately place them into an ice bath for another 4-5 minutes. Drain the excess water and place the blanched slices into freezer-safe bags or containers. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 8 months.
How to keep eggplant fresh after harvesting
Washing and drying eggplants
Before storing eggplants, it's important to wash and dry them properly. Rinse the eggplants with cool water and gently scrub them with a soft brush to remove any dirt or debris. Avoid using soap or any harsh chemicals as they can damage the skin of the eggplant. Once washed, pat dry the eggplants with a clean towel or paper towels.
Wrapping eggplant in paper towels or cloth
After washing and drying, wrap each eggplant individually in paper towels or cloth. This will help absorb any excess moisture on the surface of the eggplant, preventing mold growth and keeping it fresh for longer. Be sure to wrap each eggplant tightly but not too tightly to avoid bruising.Sow, Grow, and Harvest: The Simple Steps to Growing Perfect Eggplant
Storing eggplant in a cool and dry place
Once wrapped, place the eggplants in a cool and dry place. A temperature between 45-50°F is ideal for storing eggplants, so a root cellar or basement could be good options. If you don't have access to these areas, you can store them in the refrigerator's crisper drawer. However, be careful not to store them near any fruits that produce ethylene gas such as apples and bananas, as it can cause the eggplant to spoil faster.
It's important to note that eggplants are sensitive to cold temperatures, so avoid storing them in temperatures below 45°F as it can cause damage to the fruit's texture and flavor.
Storing eggplant for long-term use
Freezing eggplant is an easy way to store it for long-term use. To prepare eggplant for freezing, first wash and slice it into rounds or cubes. Blanch the eggplant by boiling it for 4-5 minutes, then transfer it to a bowl of ice water to cool. Once cooled, pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel and transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Label the container with the date and freeze for up to 6 months.
When youâre ready to use frozen eggplant, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Frozen eggplant is best used in cooked dishes such as stews, curries, and stir-fries as the texture may be slightly softer than fresh eggplant.
Canning eggplant is another option for long-term storage. However, canning requires some specialized equipment such as a pressure canner. To can eggplant, first wash and slice it into rounds or cubes. Pack the eggplant into sterilized jars leaving about 1 inch of headspace at the top.
Next, prepare a canning liquid by combining water, vinegar, and salt in a pot and bringing it to a boil. Pour the hot liquid over the eggplant in the jars, making sure to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and seal with lids and bands.
Process the jars in a pressure canner according to manufacturerâs instructions. Canned eggplant can be stored for up to 1 year in a cool, dark place.
Dehydrating eggplant is a great way to make your own eggplant chips or add dried eggplant to soups and stews. To dehydrate eggplant, first wash and slice it into thin rounds or strips. Arrange the slices on a dehydrator tray and sprinkle with salt. Allow the eggplant to sit for 30 minutes to draw out excess moisture.
Next, set the dehydrator to 135°F and dry the eggplant for 8-10 hours, or until crisp. Store the dried eggplant in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
Tips for preserving eggplant from the garden
Using vinegar and salt solution
One of the easiest ways to preserve eggplant from your garden is by using a vinegar and salt solution. This method involves making a brine solution by combining vinegar, water, and salt. After washing and slicing the eggplants, they are then submerged in the brine solution for several hours. The eggplants will absorb the brine, which helps to prevent spoilage.
To make the brine solution, combine 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 1 tablespoon of salt in a large bowl. Stir until the salt dissolves completely. Then, slice the eggplants into rounds or strips, depending on your preference. Submerge the eggplants in the brine solution and allow them to soak for at least 4 hours. Once they are done soaking, drain the excess brine and store the eggplants in an airtight container in the fridge.
Another effective way to preserve eggplant is by blanching them. Blanching involves quickly boiling the eggplants in water and then immediately cooling them down in ice water. This process helps to stop enzyme activity and bacterial growth that can cause spoilage.
To blanch eggplants, start by washing and slicing them into rounds or strips. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the eggplants to the pot. Let them boil for about 4-5 minutes until they become tender but not mushy. Once done boiling, remove the eggplants from the pot using a slotted spoon and immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water. Allow them to cool for about 3-4 minutes before draining excess water and storing them in an airtight container in the fridge.
Using a vacuum sealer
If you have a vacuum sealer at home, this can be an excellent tool for preserving eggplant from your garden. Vacuum sealing removes air from the packaging, which helps to slow down the spoilage process by preventing the growth of bacteria and fungi.
To use a vacuum sealer, start by washing and slicing the eggplants into rounds or strips. Place the eggplants in a vacuum-sealed bag or container, making sure to leave enough room for the sealing process. Seal the bag or container using the vacuum sealer according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once sealed, store the eggplants in the fridge or freezer.
How to store eggplant without a refrigerator
Using a Root Cellar
One of the oldest and most effective ways to store eggplants without a refrigerator is by using a root cellar. Root cellars are cool, dark and moist spaces that are ideal for storing vegetables like eggplants. To use a root cellar, you will need to dig a hole in the ground and line it with concrete or bricks. The hole should be at least six feet deep and wide enough to accommodate your eggplants. Place your eggplants in the root cellar, and cover them with straw or hay to help maintain the ideal moisture level. If you do not have a root cellar, you can also use a basement or pantry that is cool, dark and well-ventilated.
Storing Eggplants in a Cool Basement
If you have a cool basement, you can easily store your eggplants without a refrigerator. The temperature in the basement should be between 50-60°F for best results. To store your eggplants, place them in a cardboard box or basket lined with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Make sure to leave enough space between each eggplant to allow for air circulation. Check your eggplants regularly for signs of spoilage, and discard any that appear soft or discolored.
Storing Eggplants in a Container Filled with Sand
Another effective way to store eggplants without a refrigerator is by using sand. Fill a container with clean sand, and bury your eggplants in the sand, making sure they are completely covered. Make sure the container is placed in a cool, dark place like a basement or pantry. The sand will help regulate moisture levels around the eggplant, preventing them from drying out or becoming too damp. Check your eggplants regularly for signs of spoilage and discard any that appear soft or discolored.
How long do Eggplant last in the fridge
The shelf life of eggplant
Eggplants are a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. When stored properly, eggplants can last for up to a week in the refrigerator. However, the shelf life of eggplants can vary depending on several factors, such as the freshness of the eggplant, storage conditions, and preparation method.
Freshly picked eggplants will have a firm texture and smooth skin. As they age, the skin may become wrinkled and soft, indicating that the eggplant is no longer fresh. To maximize the shelf life of your eggplant, it's important to store them properly.
How to tell if eggplant is bad
To determine if your eggplant has gone bad, you should inspect it for signs of spoilage. If the skin is discolored or has soft spots, it's a sign that the eggplant is no longer fresh. You may also notice an unpleasant odor coming from the eggplant, which is another indication that it has spoiled.
Another way to tell if your eggplant has gone bad is to cut it open. If the flesh inside is discolored or has a mushy texture, it's a sign that the eggplant is no longer fresh and should be discarded.
To prevent your eggplants from spoiling too quickly, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It's also a good idea to wrap them in paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to absorb any excess moisture.
Final tips for storing eggplant
Storing eggplant with other produce
When storing eggplants with other produce, it is important to keep in mind that eggplants are sensitive to ethylene gas, which is naturally produced by some fruits and vegetables. Ethylene gas can cause eggplants to ripen and spoil more quickly. Therefore, it is best to store eggplants separately from ethylene-producing produce such as tomatoes, bananas, and apples. Instead, store eggplants in a separate drawer or container in your refrigerator.
Labeling and dating eggplants
To ensure that you are using your eggplants before they go bad, it is helpful to label and date them before storing them in the refrigerator. Use a permanent marker to write the date that you purchased or harvested the eggplant on the skin. This will help you keep track of how long the eggplant has been in storage and when it is time to use it.
Reviving wilted eggplants
If you notice that your eggplants are starting to wilt or become soft, there are a few steps you can take to revive them. First, try soaking the eggplant in cold water for 30 minutes. This can help to rehydrate the flesh and restore some of its firmness. If the eggplant still appears wilted after soaking, try cutting off a small section of the stem end. Sometimes, this can help to relieve pressure and allow the eggplant to absorb water more easily.