An eggplant goes by other names – brinjal, melongene, and aubergine. Most, if not all, of us, are familiar with them and happily include them in our daily diet.
But did you know that eggplants are botanically berries and not vegetables?
They belong to the same family group as watermelon, tomatoes, or blueberries - all characterized by their common ovary wall, which ripens entirely into an edible pericarp.
However, in the culinary world, eggplants are used as vegetables. There are more ways than one to relish aubergines – steam, fry, and bake.
If you love eggplants and buy them frequently, you’ll probably realize that they may not have the longest shelf life.
Aubergines or eggplants are rich sources of essential nutrients and fiber. They also have a low-calorie content. If you live in a household where eggplants are constant fixtures in the pantry, you may find this article helpful.
In it, we shall go through commonly asked questions, such as, how long does an eggplant last? And also, how do you know if an eggplant has gone bad?
How Long Does Eggplant Last? Does Eggplant Go Bad?
Much like other fruits and vegetables, aubergines don’t stay fresh for too long. So if you bring eggplants home from the store and you keep them at room temperature, you have three to five days until they start to go bad.
If you want to save time on the weekdays, you can pre-cut the eggplants and refrigerate them in an airtight container.
Even then, you have three days at the most to consume the cut eggplants. If you’ve cooked the eggplant into a curry or dish, it will retain its quality for up to five days.
If you’re used to shoving all groceries and packaged food alike into the refrigerator, you need to hear this. The fridge is not the best place to store aubergines.
These ‘berries’ last longer when they are kept at room temperature (unless they are cut).
Keep them away from direct sunlight, in a cool and dry place. Also, contrary to popular belief, sealing eggplants in a plastic bag does not increase their shelf life.
Doing this, in fact, speeds up their decaying process. If you insist on not leaving the eggplants out on their own, you can place them in a vented bowl.
Store eggplant in the refrigerator for days on end, and you’re likely to notice pits and bronzing at its surface. Cut the eggplant open, and you’ll see that its seeds and pulp show signs of browning.
It may still be okay to eat the eggplant, but it has passed its peak quality. Like carrots and cucumbers, eggplants are temperature-sensitive and decay faster when subjected to low temperatures for an extended period of time.
Eggplants are also sensitive to ethylene, which is a natural gas responsible for rapid ripening and eventual spoiling of certain foods.
To allow your batch of eggplants to enjoy their full five days of shelf life, keep it separate from other ethylene-sensitive foods such as melons, bananas, and tomatoes.
How to Tell if an Eggplant is Bad? Eggplant Shelf Life!
If an eggplant feels soft and is discolored, it may be time to toss it out. There have been times when people simply cut off the eggplant’s soft and spongy parts and used the remaining part.
This is something most of us do, but it is not ideal, unless the ‘rotting’ part is relatively small.
An eggplant that has passed its prime also tends to be wrinkly and feels mushy when you apply pressure on its surface. If your acquaintance with eggplants is fairly new, the following heads-up will prove helpful.
If you cut open an eggplant and notice that it is slightly brown on the inside, don’t worry about it. This ‘discoloration’ is the result of oxidation. The eggplant is still good to eat.
The inside of an eggplant also tends to turn brown shortly after you slice it. This browning happens because of enzymatic browning.
It is quite normal and does not indicate that the eggplant is spoiled.
An eggplant is at its peak quality as long as it looks and feels taut. When at its prime, an eggplant’s surface is thin and glossy.
Cut it open, and its flesh is cream-colored and the seeds visible. Picking the perfect eggplant requires its own technique, much like picking out the best butternut squash or brussel sprouts at the supermarket. All this will come to you with time.
An eggplant, once cooked, takes on a soft texture quickly. There are tons of different ways to include aubergines in your daily diet.
Treat your taste buds by exploring as many eggplant recipes as you can. Just remember that whatever you do, it is recommended that you never eat an eggplant raw.