When To Harvest An Eggplant? – Things to Know!

Narayani Bhardwaj
Narayani Bhardwaj Guide
8 Min Read
By Couleur on Pixabay

As a relative of tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes, the eggplants are part of the nightshade family. Eggplants are among those fruits that get harvested before they become entirely mature.

The perfect time to harvest an eggplant is when it gets a shiny purple colour and becomes fully grown. An ideal eggplant will get its original shape when squeezed gently.

Harvesting eggplants does not require much knowledge; just a few observations can help you pick the right eggplant. 

1. When to Harvest an Eggplant?

The ideal time to harvest an eggplant is from July to September, around mid-summer. However, the time to pick can change depending on the variety you have.

when to harvest an eggplant: eggplants in basket
By Mark Stebnicki at pexels

To pick the right eggplant, it is better to know the ideal texture of the eggplant. However, picking eggplants a little before is a good practice to prevent over-ripening of the fruit.

Overripe eggplants taste bitter, and overripe fruit is likely to attract garden pests. According to the estimated logic, an eggplant becomes ideally mature within 100 to 120 days after seeds are planted, or it takes 60 to 85 days to mature from a transplanted plant.

2. When to Harvest a White Eggplant?

Some varieties of eggplants are not purple, and many of them usually change colour when they ripen.

when to harvest an eggplant: white eggplant
By Digifoodstock on Unlimphotos.com

Similarly, like purple eggplants, it is better to harvest white eggplants quickly after they have grown completely and before they turn brown.

These also have a little shine in their skin, and they look nourished. Pick them during this time before they get pale.

3. What is the Correct Method to Harvest an Eggplant?

Eggplants belong to the same family as tomatoes. An overripe tomato can be observed with its skin; similarly, an overripe eggplant can also be observed with its folded and dry skin.

An ideal eggplant has a glossy skin and has firmness while touching.

Pick eggplants before they get overripe. It is better to pick them now when they look glossy and purple with firmness inside. This stage is immature, but you get the best eggplant flavour.

when to harvest an eggplant: hanging eggplant on its plant
By darkness_s on Pixabay

When you encounter an overripe eggplant, it will look brown, be spongy when touched, and have a bitter taste.

Another way to identify the ripeness of an eggplant is to cut it down in half, and if the colour inside looks fresh and creamy with its seeds, the eggplant is ready to pick. 

4. Measures to Take While Harvesting an Eggplant

The plant can have thorns on its branches, so it is crucial to wear gardening or long-sleeved gloves to protect the skin from getting hurt while picking eggplants.

Like tomatoes, the eggplants get marks on their skin quickly. To secure your hard work and fruit, pick the eggplants exceptionally carefully to avoid bruises on the skin.

How to Harvest Eggplant

Use a knife or sharp pruners to detach the cap of the eggplant from the stem, as a dull instrument can also hurt the plant and fruit.

Many plants produce new fruits throughout the harvesting and growing season. Checking the plant every few days for new fruits is a good practice to avoid fruit overripening.

5. Store Eggplant After Harvesting

They use or eat the eggplants as soon as possible after harvesting, which is better. Eggplants are likely to get ripe if not used for a certain period. However, some measures can be taken when you have too many eggplants and want to preserve them.

when to harvest an eggplant: eggplants stored in basket
By Zen Chung at pexels

Cover the eggplants with a paper towel to soak up excess moisture, and store them in a plastic bag to preserve them. The bag should remain unsealed to allow air circulation.

Store the bag in a refrigerator drawer for up to 4 days. Further, it is best to consume eggplants sooner, as storing them in the fridge modifies the flavour of the fruits.

6. How to Know Overripe or Perfect Eggplant?

Below are the observations that one can notice to distinguish between an overripe and a perfect eggplant.

6.1. Overripe Eggplant

  • It has a pale and brown skin.
  • Seeds will grow large and become unappetizing.
  • The flesh becomes murky and rugged.
  • Gives a bitter flavour.

6.2. Perfect Eggplant

  • It has a glossy and purple skin.
  • Seeds remain undeveloped, or they may have tiny seeds.
  • The flesh is firm.
  • Gives a sweet or less bitter taste.

7. Do Eggplants Ripen After Being Harvested?

Eggplants are crops grown in warm weather; they can be ripened at room temperature in the kitchen after being harvested if not eaten sooner or preserved.

Eggplant Recipes : How to Tell if Eggplant Is Rotten

You can ripen eggplant at home by covering it in a paper bag along with a couple of bananas. Bananas produce ethylene, which helps ripen the fruits quickly.

However, this method can overripen a fruit if too much ethylene is introduced. It is recommended that you be attentive and check the fruit during the process; otherwise, it can get rotten, too.

When the eggplant gets adequately ripened, you can store it in the refrigerator and use it before it turns spongy or mushy.

8. What is the Use of Overripe Eggplants?

When the eggplants become overripe while still hanging on the plant, they grow pale, and the skin becomes brown. However, an overripe eggplant can still be helpful when developing a new plant.

As a part of the tomato and peppers family, the eggplants are also grown with their seeds. To develop a new plant, the seeds will need to be sown.

when to harvest an eggplant: rotten eggplants
By digital on Unlimphotos.com

An overripe and giant fruit has large seeds, which are excellent to sow in the next growing season. You would want a fully ripe eggplant before harvesting to get the larger seeds.

When the plant is harvested prematurely, the seeds may not develop, and it is the best time to eat eggplant and enjoy its authentic flavours.

However, undeveloped or tiny seeds are useless when growing a new plant as they will have low germination rates.  

9. Conclusion

Eggplants provide the best flavours during the premature stage, which is an excellent time to harvest them. Eggplants are easy to grow in home gardens, and they should be harvested when they reach their full size and have a purple and shiny appearance.

However, essential measures like wearing gloves while harvesting eggplants are necessary. Also, it is easy to differentiate between an overripe and an ideal eggplant.

Last Updated on by Khushahal Malakar

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