When it comes to storing eggplants, there are many different tips and tricks to keep them fresh and prevent them from getting ripe before you have a chance to eat them. For instance, if you want to preserve the ripeness of your eggplants, you can store them in the freezer or use an airtight container. If you decide to store them in the freezer, you will want to be careful not to freeze them too hard, as this could cause a chilling injury.
What is Eggplant?
A fruit called eggplant (Solanum melongena) is frequently prepared as a vegetable in recipes. It is a common element in many cuisines, especially in Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. Eggplants can also be white, green, or yellow. However, their common color is purple. They have spongy, slightly bitter flesh. Due to their ability to take on tastes, they are frequently used as a meat substitute in vegetarian meals.
In addition to being a strong source of fiber, eggplants also provide significant amounts of potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K. They are a fantastic option for persons aiming to maintain a healthy weight because they are low in calories and high in water.
Eggplants are frequently used in cuisines like ratatouille, baba ghanoush, and eggplant parmesan and can be consumed raw or cooked. They can be fried, grilled, roasted, or added to stews and soups.
3 Top Eggplant Storage Options
Either at ambient temperature, in the fridge, or the freezer are options for storing eggplant. To keep the vegetable fresh for recipes involving eggplant, think about the following storage options:
1. Room Temperature:
Whole eggplants can be kept in a room-temperature refrigerator. (Cut eggplant must be stored in the freezer or refrigerator.) Put the eggplant in a ventilated bowl or a paper bag. Eggplants need airflow to keep fresh, so there’s no need to seal the bag or cover the bowl tightly. The eggplant should be kept out of sunlight in a cool environment (approximately 54 degrees Fahrenheit). Ideal environments include garages, basements, or other chilly areas. For four days, the eggplant will remain fresh.
Eggplants can be kept for up to a week in the crisper drawer. Put your eggplant in an open plastic bag after gently wrapping it in paper towels to preserve it from dampness. Your eggplant will remain colorful and firm for seven days in the refrigerator with proper air circulation and separate from ethylene producers. Before reheating and serving, put prepared eggplant dishes, such as roasted eggplant, in an airtight container on a shelf in your refrigerator. The shelf life of leftovers is up to five days.
The longest-lasting method is to freeze eggplant. Wash your eggplant gently in cold water before using a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Slice the eggplant into thin, one-third-inch-thick round discs by laying it lengthwise on a cutting board. To assist the eggplant in retaining its color, boil some water and add a few squeezes of lemon juice.
Boil the eggplants for four minutes with their full submersion in the boiling water. Slices of eggplant should spend five minutes in an ice bath after being removed from the saucepan. After patting the eggplant slices dry and draining the ice bath, please place them in a freezer bag with a tight cover. The bag can be sealed with a vacuum sealer to help ensure airtightness. The shelf life of blanched and frozen eggplant is six months.
Before storing, blot the eggplant dry with a paper towel if it has water droplets. Only lightly rinse before using; otherwise, too much moisture may lead to deterioration.
Tips on How to Store Eggplant
Take into account the following advice to make your eggplants last longer on the shelf:
1. Select a young eggplant. Buying a decent eggplant at the market or grocery shop is crucial. Avoid any eggplants with discoloration and opt for those with a dark aubergine color. The eggplant should have thick skin that is smooth and lustrous. Soft areas can detect rot.
2. Keep eggplant away from other fruits and vegetables. It would be best to store your eggplant in the refrigerator or on the counter far from ethylene-producing foods like apples, melons, and bananas. The ethylene released by the eggplant can hasten the ripening (and rotting) process, resulting in a mushy, unappealing vegetable.
3. Apply lemon juice to the eggplant. Slices of leftover eggplant can be saved for later usage. Sliced eggplant should be stacked in a container with some lemon juice sprayed. Toss the eggplant gently, so all the pieces are coated in the lemon juice. The cut vegetable’s freshness is maintained by citric acid. Then, firmly close the container. This leftover eggplant can be pickled, cooked as a side dish with olive oil, garlic, and spices, or used to make vegetable broth.
Considerations When Storing Eggplants
- For example, store eggplants in a pantry or cellar to keep them cool and dry.
- Good temperatures range from 50 to 55 °F. Eggplants can stay fresh when stored properly for three to four days.
- Even though refrigerators are often too cold to store eggplant, keeping it in the crisper is preferable to leaving it at room temperature.
- It is recommended to place the eggplant in a reusable container after wrapping it in a paper (or cloth) towel to absorb extra moisture. They won’t last as long if you store them free in the refrigerator’s vegetable section, though.
- Refrigerator-stored eggplant soon shrivels and softens. It would help if you utilized them within the following few days.
Avoid Chilling Injury
Eggplants are an important vegetable crop in Asia and Mediterranean countries. They are a good source of antioxidants. However, eggplants are susceptible to chilling injury during storage. Fortunately, a few techniques can be used to prevent this damage. The main concern is the temperature of the storage environment. A good refrigerator is ideal for storing eggplants.
Storage below 41degF can lead to surface bronzing, pitting, and pulp browning. This can negatively affect the quality of the fruit.
Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) can significantly delay chilling injury in eggplants. Several studies have shown that the combination of MeJA and low-temperature conditioning can enhance the postharvest quality of eggplants. In addition to inhibiting chlorophyll decline, MeJA and low-temperature conditioning reduce the accumulation of malondialdehyde and polyphenol oxidase enzyme activity.
Reference: PHYSIOLOGICAL STUDIES ON DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES, DIFFERENT WRAPPING FILMS AND COLD STORAGE OF EGGPLANT FRUITS
The “Melida” cultivar of eggplant was used in these experiments to examine the physical and chemical changes that occur during fruit development and storage to determine the appropriate harvesting stage. The effects of various wrapping materials and levels of cold storage were also investigated to increase fruit storability.
The findings showed that while fruit length, diameter, and weight grew with aging, other fruit characteristics such as firmness, dry matter, T.S.S., and ascorbic acid concentration decreased with aging up to 15 days. The results of the tests showed that 15 days after anthesis, the eggplant fruits of the Melida variety were ready for harvest.
How do you Store Cut Eggplant?
Here’s what to do if you’ve already cut or chopped the eggplant:
- Put the chunks of eggplant in a bowl of cold, salt water.
- Pat them dry after draining.
- Put them on a baking sheet with paper towels inside.
- Add yet another layer of paper towels over the eggplant.
- Put the pan in the refrigerator after carefully wrapping it with plastic wrap.
How Long is Eggplant Good for?
A whole eggplant can stay fresh for up to two days at room temperature, but it will spoil sooner if exposed to light or ethylene gas.
Eggplants enjoy dark, chilly spaces like a wine cooler or pantry, and the ideal temperature for storage is around 50 degrees F.
If the peel hasn’t been removed or harmed, eggplant will keep in the fridge for five to seven days.
In the refrigerator, cooked eggplant can keep for three to five days.
How Long can Eggplant be Stored in the Refrigerator?
5 – 7 days
For use within 5–7 days, wrap in a paper towel, place in a reusable container, or place in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper portion of your refrigerator. Additionally, eggplant can be boiled or blanched before being frozen for up to six months.
Is Raw Eggplant Freezer-Friendly?
Since raw eggplant contains a lot of water, it does not freeze well. However, if you cook eggplant, even partially, and drain off some moisture, it will freeze; be mindful that the texture won’t be the same when it’s thawed.
If you’re using your eggplant to make a soup, sauce, or spread, go ahead and purée it. You can slice, roast, and freeze your eggplant if you don’t have a specific use or dish.
How can Eggplant Slices be Frozen without being Blanched?
Lay the rounds out on a baking sheet and flash freeze them, or bread them beforehand if you’d rather. They can be breaded with homemade Italian breadcrumbs after being dipped in egg. Transfer the frozen eggplant into freezer bags.
What Gives Some Eggplant its Bitter Flavor?
Modern eggplant cultivars have mostly been bred to be less bitter, which is one reason it isn’t technically required to salt eggplant before cooking any longer. But when eggplants age and become overripe, their flavors might become harsher.
Eggplants, like many other members of the nightshade family, contain a trace amount of poisonous alkaloids; in this case, solanine is also found in potatoes. However, the fruits themselves are fine to consume; only the plant’s leaves and tubers should be avoided. However, the bitterness in eggplant isn’t caused by solanine; rather, it’s caused by anthocyanins, the pigments that give eggplant its distinctive purple hue.
Health Benefits of Eggplant
- There are many nutritional advantages to eating eggplant. Approximately half of the daily required intake for women and a third of the daily recommended intake for males are provided by this giant purple vegetable’s 6 grams of fiber per cup portion.
- Despite having a high carbohydrate content, eggplant has no cholesterol or sugar, making it a healthy vegetable option for those with diabetes or who are trying to reduce their diet of fats and sweets.
- Because they include the antioxidants nasunin and chlorogenic acid, eggplants can assist your condition if you have heart disease, stroke, renal disease, or gout.
- Nasunin especially guards against free radical damage to cell membranes, which may lessen harm to bodily tissues and organs. Chlorogenic acid, meantime, lowers the risk of heart disease and aids in the removal of potentially hazardous compounds from the blood.
- You do not want to be without this vegetable in your kitchen because eggplants are a fantastic source of vitamin K, which your body requires for healthy blood coagulation and proper bone formation.
How can I Tell if Eggplant is Bad?
When eggplant is bad, you may tell by the color change from the original purple to a brownish-green shade. It will also begin to swell and soften. Please don’t take a chance with an expired eggplant you bought; instead, compost it or toss it away.
What Happens When you Consume Bad Eggplant?
Food illness can result from eating spoiled eggplant. In extreme circumstances, it could cause more severe health issues. Stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting are possible signs of food poisoning from contaminated eggplant.
If eggplant is improperly stored or kept at room temperature for an extended amount of time, it may worsen. Before eating the eggplant, make sure to look for signs of deterioration. Below are several indicators that an eggplant may not be good:
- a sticky or slimy feel
- a strong or unpleasant scent
- Mold growth indicators (black or green spots)
- To reduce your risk of contracting food poisoning, it is best to discard any questionable eggplant.
As you can see, as long as you adhere to a few fundamental guidelines, storing eggplants is not that difficult. The most crucial thing is to keep them in an area with good airflow, darkness, and cooling and to examine them frequently for any symptoms of decay. Eliminate any rotten eggplant as soon as you see it!