Eggplant or aubergine is a delicious fruit (or berry or vegetable, depending on who you talk to), full of minerals and vitamins and low in calories.
It is great roasted, fried, cooked in a stew or many other ways depending on your country. Unfortunately, as with most fresh fruits and veggies, eggplant does not last long and has to be consumed as soon as possible.
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Does eggplant go bad?
Eggplant is one of those vegetables that look wonderful fresh, in the grocery store or on the market: purple, glossy, and oval, pretty as a picture. If you touch it, it is taut and firm. Just perfect. And then a few days later it starts looking slightly shriveled and soft to the touch.
That probably answers your question: does eggplant go bad? Yes, it does and mush faster than you wish.
You got five days at most before it turns into a mushy mess, all brown inside, slightly slimy and soft. As soon as you slice it, it starts oxidizing and turning brown, sort of like avocado or potatoes, but it does not make it bad for eating. Sprinkle it with some lemon or vinegar to keep it fresh looking, but it is best eaten as soon as possible.
How long does eggplant last?
If you eat eggplant frequently, you probably experienced the fact that you better eat it in four-five days or it will start turning bad.
Interestingly, eggplants prefer to be stored in the pantry, at room temperature, out of the direct light or sun, than in the fridge. They like to be left in a cool, dry place, in a paper bag, or just in a basket or plate, not sealed in plastic. Put them in the fridge only if you have sliced them already.
One important tip is that eggplant, like other similar vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, melons, and bananas, are sensitive to ethylene. Ethylene is a gas that some fruits or veggies produce.
It makes them ripen faster. So, if you store your eggplant together with a bunch of bananas, both of them will go ripe and soon after spoiled. If you want your eggplant to last its maximum of five days, keep it alone in a nice bowl.
|Eggplant (Whole) last for
9-12 Months (blanch first)
Eggplant (Cut) last for
|30 minutes, after that it will start getting brown
9-12 Months (blanch first)
Eggplants last much longer if they are frozen, pickled, or dehydrated. When frozen, they can last up to a year. Pickled eggplant is treated like a salad and it can stay in the fridge for a few days. Dehydrated eggplant, like many other vegetables, can be stored for years if preserved and treated well.
Eggplants can also last longer as a part of dishes such as Baba Ganouj, ayvar, and others. The dishes are usually preserved with vinegar or some other acid to ensure their conservation. Such dishes, when produced commercially, contain preservatives, which make the dish last longer whether it is stored closed or open.
8 Tips to tell if eggplant has gone bad
Assuming that you know how to buy fresh eggplant, you start with a lovely, plump, firm, purple shiny fruit. A few days after, things will start to deteriorate.
- Eggplant stopped being firm and starts getting soft
- It is not so nicely shiny any more
- The skin starts looking slightly shriveled’
- When cut, your eggplant is slightly slimy
- The flesh, when cut, is turning brown
- The seeds are slimy
- There are rotting spots on the fruit
- It started to smell rotten
Actually, even when it starts getting brown inside, the eggplant is still edible, especially if you are planning on roasting it. If you are grating it into a salad, it has to be super fresh, firm, and white. Keep in mind that the eggplant will start to oxidize very quickly when you leave it cut on the plate. Once cut, it is best to cook it or eat it quickly.
Some people hate throwing away vegetables and deal with the rotting eggplant by cutting away rotten bits. It is probably OK if there are small portions of eggplant that turned bad but the rest looks fine.
9 Tips to store eggplant
There are many misconceptions and old believes when it comes to eggplant. Interestingly, the best advice comes from Asian countries like India and the Middle East where eggplant is eaten frequently in many different dishes.
- Take the eggplant out of the plastic bag if that is how it came from the grocery store. A plastic bag is not the best way of storing it.
- A fridge is too cold for storing eggplant. In the fridge, it quickly starts developing brown spots.
- Place your eggplant in a dark, cool pantry, at a temperature around 50°F and it will last you for a few weeks before it starts getting bad.
- Once sliced, eggplant turns brown and while edible, it is not very appetizing. While it will not get spoiled right away if you place a plate of sliced eggplant in the fridge, it will lose its firmness and flavor.
- When storing eggplant in the pantry, make sure it is not stored together with other fruits sensitive to ethylene. It is the gas that some fruits like bananas or tomatoes produce. It makes other fruits ripen faster. It also means they will spoil faster.
- Eggplant can be frozen for almost a year. Before freezing it, it should be washed and blanched (boiled in hot water for a minute or two, then placed in cold water, dried, and stored.) You can freeze it whole or sliced.
- Eggplants make an excellent pickled salad. Pickling – cooking in vinegar and spices and then adding oil and storing in the lidded jar – will make this delicacy last in the fridge for about a month. There are many different ways to do this in different countries.
- Eggplant can also be stored after it has been made into a dish. As long as the dish does not contain some highly perishable ingredient, it can be stored in the fridge for a few days. The famous Baba Ganoush can be stored in a tightly closed jar in the fridge for four days.
- It is not commonly known that eggplant can be successfully dehydrated and stored for many years. It requires quite exact preparation and thorough dehydration so that it does not attract bacteria.
The risk of consuming an expired eggplant
The risk of contracting a food-borne infection after eating a bad eggplant is the same as with any other food. As it starts deteriorating, eggplant becomes home to numerous bacteria that can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting. That is the reason for taking great care of the hygiene of your eggplant after you bring it home. Wash it thoroughly to remove all bacteria as well as preservatives and fertilizer that might still remain on the fruit.
When consuming raw fruit, there is a danger of botulism, a much more serious disease.
Can you freeze eggplant?
Eggplant is great when frozen and freezing extends its life for up to a year. There are many ways of freezing eggplants, but the most popular is the one that uses peeled fruit and blanching.
- Peel ripe, healthy eggplant and slice it into half-inch round slices. You can slice it any way you want, but do not make the slices too thick.
- Boil water with vinegar or lemon juice. Drop eggplant slices in it and cook for 10-15 minutes or until eggplant slices turn translucent.
- Take slices out of the hot water and drop them into iced water.
- Dry slices in a towel and store them in Ziploc bags.
Frozen eggplant can be stored in the freezer for about a year. Write the date of freezing on the Ziploc bag so that you know when it goes past its edible date.
Eggplants are healthy, delicious vegetables (fruits or berries according to some sources) that make many delicious dishes. Unfortunately, there are many old believes when it comes to the best way of preserving and storing eggplant. The latest wisdom is to keep your eggplant in a cool pantry away from fruits like bananas and tomatoes and it will last for a few weeks. The temperature in the refrigerator is too low for eggplants.
Eggplant can be frozen and pickled for longer storage. If dehydrated, eggplants can be stored for over a year without going bad. While eggplant does go bad eventually, with proper storage, good hygiene, its life can be extended so that it produces the most delicious dishes.