Eggplant is extremely useful as it contains a huge set of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. It has many beneficial substances that contribute to the elimination of bad cholesterol, so it is called a good substitute for heart medicines.
But by its nature, eggplant is extremely sensitive to fresh storage conditions.
Should eggplant be refrigerated and how to store it properly? Read this article and learn the responses to these questions.
How to Choose Eggplants for Storage?
The main secret to keeping the eggplants fresh for as long as possible is to carefully select the fruits. Only very young fruits of rich dark purple color are suitable for long-term storage. They have a smooth, elastic and shiny skin without damage. Choose the heaviest eggplants of the same size.
Check if you can leave a dent with a finger. If yes, it means that the eggplant is overripe.
If you are growing eggplants on your own, plant late-ripening varieties for long-term storage.
Harvest before the frost, cutting the fruit with a knife along with the stem. It is not advisable to wash the collected eggplants, it is enough to wipe them dry with a clean cloth.
Storing Fresh Eggplant
There are different ways to store eggplants:
- you can simply pack the fruit in a plastic bag and put it in a cool place in the apartment (they get spoiled faster in the refrigerator);
- a small amount of eggplants is well stored wrapped in paper and neatly stacked in one layer in boxes;
- you may store eggplants in deep boxes covered with ash at a temperature of about +7 degrees;
- it is possible to leave the eggplants on the garden beds for a while if you put the plants together with the fruits in heaps and cover with straw;
- store eggplant in a dark unheated room. Fresh eggplants are spread on a straw mat for two weeks, then the fruits without damages are wrapped in paper and laid on a layer of straw up to 20 cm thick and cover with a thick cloth.
Do You Refrigerate Eggplant?
Eggplant is a vegetable that has a special taste and absolutely no odor. But at the same time, it heavily absorbs the smells of the surrounding products. And if the freezing process is improper, it can completely lose its taste.
So should we refrigerate eggplant?
Definitely yes. Just imagine what a delicacy you will be able to enjoy in winter.
But before freezing, the vegetables must be well prepared. There are four options for freezing fresh fruits.
They can be:
Eggplant Shelf Life
How long does eggplant last?
Roughly the terms are as follows:
- frozen eggplants are stored for several months;
- at 2 degrees, the eggplants are stored for an average of one month;
- at temperatures of 10 and above, the eggplants can remain fresh for several days (maximum 5-6 days);
- at temperatures up to 7 degrees, the eggplants retain freshness and juiciness for several weeks, but it is recommended to cover them with ashes, sand, or wood sawdust.
Optimal Storage Conditions for Eggplants
You will keep fresh eggplants longer if you store them in the cold pantry:
- a dark place without light access;
- the temperature should not exceed +2 — + 4 degrees;
- recommended humidity is 75-90%.
Eggplant Freezing Tips
Whatever way you freeze fresh eggplant, remember that in any case, you should start by soaking the vegetables in saltwater. If you do not do it, their flesh will become too elastic. Besides, in this way you will remove the bitterness of the fruit;
Before you put the eggplants in the freezer, they must be wrapped with a food film or plastic bag. When wrapping, make sure there is no air inside, otherwise, it can lead to oxidation;
Put the eggplants on paper towels before packing. This is done to get the extra oil out and let the eggplants dry out after soaking;
Frozen fruits should be stored for a maximum of 6 months.
How to Store Cut Eggplant?
If you want to freeze the fruits in cut pieces, you need to bake them. The recipe is very simple.
- Choose medium-sized eggplants. Wash them well and cut them. It is most convenient to cut into circles or cubes;
- Before baking, vegetables should be kept in salt to remove the bitterness. To do this, place the sliced eggplants in a deep bowl and pour them with salt. Leave them for an hour or two, then rinse them under running water and squeeze well;
- Put some baking paper on the baking dish and carefully grease it with vegetable oil;
- Carefully spread the fruit and send it to the oven. They should bake at a temperature of no more than 180 degrees for about 40-50 minutes;
- Transfer the baked vegetables to paper towels and give them time to cool down;
- After it, distribute them in packages and remove them in the freezer.
How to Dry Eggplant?
You can dry the eggplants to save them until the next harvest. To do this, use the same method as when drying mushrooms:
- The eggplants are washed, the stalks are cut off;
- The fruits are cut into slices 0.5 cm thick;
- Put the slices on a string of string;
- Chopped eggplants are placed in a dry, well-ventilated area, such as in the attic, or outside in the shade. They should not be exposed to sunlight. Drying lasts 2-3 weeks. After it, store eggplant in a linen bag or in a sealed jar. Store in a cool, dry place.
- To speed up the process, the eggplants can be dried in an oven or an electric dryer. It will take 5-6 hours for thin slices to dry at a temperature of 50-60 ° t.
All of these fresh storing eggplant options do not guarantee that the fruits will not spoil and retain their elasticity until next season.
Remember, that eggplants are the least suitable vegetables for long-term storage. Well, you may try to dry the eggplants for the winter or bake a little in the oven and freeze (fresh eggplants do not taste good after freezing).
In this form, the fruits can be used for cooking at any time of the year and the taste will be as if the eggplants were just picked in the garden.