How to Keep Eggplants Fresh and Store Correctly: Eggplants are among the many vegetables that get spoilt easily and don’t have a long shelf life. If you are not careful with where you store them, the quality and freshness deteriorate very fast. How will you keep your eggplant and ensure it remains fresh? Below are some tips that will help you know how to store your uncut or cut eggplant.
Most eggplants remain fresh for very few days after harvesting or after buying from the stores. To stay with a fresh eggplant for weeks, you need to find out what techniques and tricks you should use when storing the vegetable. Unlike most vegetables, which need to be held in the refrigerator to remain fresh, eggplants require more than that, and you have to create optimum temperature and conditions in your house.
At what temperate should you store your eggplants?
Cooler temperatures easily damage eggplants and, therefore, you should not chill them. The appropriate temperature for storing eggplants is 50-54F. This temperature lies between your house’s warmer portions during summer and the colder areas of your fridge.
If you have a pantry that retains a cooler temperature than the available room or a more open kitchen, you can store the eggplant there. If you do not have air conditioning in your home in summer days and the kitchen’s temperature rises to up to 90F, you can store the eggplants in the refrigerator.
You can also store eggplants by:
To store your eggplants for more extended periods, you can freeze them. Wash the eggplants in warm water and cut off the ends—afterward, skin and slice into small pieces. Boil water and add a cup of lemon juice in the water. Boil the slices of eggplant for five minutes and spoon them out with a straining utensil.
Please place them in a bowl of ice water and let them sit for around 4-5 minutes. You should ensure the water remains chilled all along by regularly adding ice in the bowl. Remove the slices and store them in vacuum bags or freezer bags and seal.
The eggplant will remain fresh for up to five months in the freezer bag and up to fourteen months in a vacuum-sealed bag. If you like your eggplants with Parmesan, dip them in butter then coat with breadcrumbs. Before storing them in the freezer bags, wax some paper on them. This saves you the hassle when taking them out of the bags.
2. Room temperature
If you bought many eggplants from the store and intend to use them two or three days later, you can store them at room temperature. However, never cut an eggplant if you want to keep it at room temperature.
Eggplants are easily perishable when cut, especially at room temperature. When storing at room temperature, keep them away from direct sunlight and store in a relaxed place like the pantry or cupboard.
You can also refrigerate your eggplants, and they will remain fresh for 4-7 days if they are uncut. To avoid the effects of bitter cold, store the eggplant in the fridge’s warmer sections like the crisper drawer. If you notice signs of fading, use the eggplant immediately since it has started aging.
4. Paper bags
Place the eggplants in a paper bag and loosely wrap the eggplants in the paper. You do not have to tie or seal the paper bags. Don’t cut since when cut; eggplants spoil very fast. Paper bags absorb moisture, and this is why you should not use sealed plastic bags for storing eggplants.
When sealed, the eggplants have poor air circulation hence spoil faster. If you don’t have a paper bag, you can wrap the eggplants in paper towels and place them in vented bowls or unsealed plastic bags. You don’t have to put each eggplant in a single paper bag; you can store them together nut ensure they don’t touch each other.
Eggplants stored together in a paper bag should be spaced to allow moisture to escape. However, when using paper towels, you should wrap each eggplant separately.
Storing cooked eggplants
Cooked eggplants can be stored in the freezer or refrigerators and maintain their fresh taste. However, to increase the freshness of your cooked eggplant, keep it two hours or less after cooking.
When storing the cooked eggplants, use resealable bags or airtight containers to maintain quality and safety and increase shelf life. If you keep your cooked eggplants well, they will last for 3-5 days.
If you want them to last longer, freeze them in heavy-duty freezer bags or airtight containers. When cooked eggplants are stored in the freezer, they last between 10-12 months, and in other instances, cam remains fresh even beyond a year. Cooked eggplants held at 0oF remain fresh indefinitely.
After being thawed, cooked eggplants stored in the freezer can last for 3-4 days before cooking. However, if the eggplant was softened in cold water or the microwave, it should be eaten immediately. Thawed eggplants remain fresh for two hours only when left at room temperature. This is because bacteria multiply very fast at temperatures of 40F and 140F and will destroy the eggplant.
To know whether your eggplant is spoilt, look at it and smell and if it has an awful smell, discard immediately.
Other tips on how to store eggplants correctly.
When storing eggplants, ensure they are not within other fruits that produce ethylene like nectarines, bananas, avocados, melons, and apples. Eggplants held near fruits that grow ethylene remain fresh for lesser days. If you store your eggplants near such fruits, they will ripen immediately, and if they do, you should consume them instantly. To extend the lifespan of eggplants, you can also try storing them in green produce bags.