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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Eggplant is a healthy vegetable that can be used for cooking many delicious dishes. However, sometimes it suddenly gets rotten! How to avoid spoiling the vegetable and keep it last longer? Read our answers below.
Can You Store Eggplant In the Fridge?
Yes, eggplants can be stored in the fridge. Actually, this is a tricky vegetable to store because, when being kept outside the fridge, it can last for two days only. So, if don’t plan to use it within the two days after you bought it, store it in the crisper section being wrapped in a paper towel and put into the perforated plastic bag. Like that, your eggplant will survive from seven days and up to two weeks.
Can You Store Eggplant In the Freezer?
If you have many eggplants or simply want to use them much later, you can keep them in the freezer. To do that, blanch or steam the vegetables, and you will be able to keep them for up to half a year!
Can You Store Cut Eggplant?
What if you have some cut eggplant left and wonder whether it’s possible to keep it? Put its slices into a glass container and add some lemon juice to cover the slices. Make sure they are not floating in it, though! Two tablespoons per one middle-size eggplant will be enough.
Close the container with the lid tightly and shake it accurately. It will help to keep the vegetable for two or three days.
Can I Store Fresh Eggplant In the Fridge?
Yes, you can. For that, wrap the vegetable with a piece of paper or a paper towel and put it into the perforated plastic bag. Any reusable container will do well, too. Avoid keeping it uncovered together with apples and some other fruit is it will turn bad faster.
Store your eggplants like that in a crisper section, and they will last for up to 14 days.
Where Should You Store Eggplant?
Even though your fridge is a convenient place for storage, it’s not the best option for eggplants though. Surprisingly, eggplants are stored better at room temperature (not lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit) in a cool place. Make sure they are away from sunlight and don’t keep them in a plastic bag as it will faster their ruination. Also, keep them away from apples, bananas, tomatoes, and melons because those vegetables make eggplants get rotten faster.
How to Store Eggplant for Future Use?
If you want to make your eggplants last as long as possible, better freeze them. Take your eggplants, peel them and slice. Boil some water with lemon juice (half a cup of juice per each gallon of water) and cook eggplants in it for 5 minutes. Take them out of boiling water and immerse for 5 minutes into cold water instead, too.
Drain eggplants and put them into a vacuum bag or a zipped bag removing the air from it first. Now you can put them to the freezer.
How to Store Eggplant After Picking?
To keep eggplant fresh, store it in a cool place away from the sum shine at room temperature. Also, make sure there are no apples, bananas or melons nearby as they will make eggplants turn bad faster.