Due to its spongy texture, eggplant is highly perishable. Here is a breakdown of its estimated shelf life.
How Long Does Fresh Eggplant Last? (At Room Temperature)
Fresh eggplant shrivels quickly when left exposed. If you have to leave them on the counter, use within 3 days. Firm ones can last for 5 days.
Shelf Life of Fresh Eggplant (In the Fridge)
For a longer shelf life, refrigerate fresh eggplants in the vegetable crisper. Well refrigerated eggplants can last a whopping 3 weeks.
Shelf Life of Frozen Fresh Eggplants?
Yes, freezing is ideal for long-term storage. However, you have to blanch prior to freezing. Blanching prevents the flesh from browning due to freezer burns. It also helps to retain the texture, structure and flavor.
After blanching, shock them in ice water. Use airtight containers.
Well frozen eggplants last up to 1 year.
How Long Does Cooked Eggplant Last? (In the Fridge or Freezer)
Cooked eggplant is another perishable item. Refrigerated leftovers only last for 5 days at most. For an extended shelf life, freeze the leftovers. Like blanched frozen ones, they remain in good shape for 1 year.
Shelf Life of Cut Eggplant
Once cut or sliced, eggplants oxidize and turn brown within minutes. As such, use as soon as you have cut them. Alternatively, dip in acid solution like lemon juice. This reserves them for a few hours.
How to Preserve Eggplant For a Longer Shelf Life
Eggplants lend themselves easy for dehydration. There are several ways you can dry them:
Begin by chopping or slicing before blanching for a minute.
After shocking in ice water, dry using a paper towel before arranging in single layer for drying.
Alternatively, you can just marinate and season them thoroughly before drying, without blanching.
Both methods allow the eggplants to retain flavor and texture. Well dried eggplants are dry, but chewy. Store in airtight containers.
How Long Does eggplant Jerky Last?
Dried eggplants keep well at room temperature. Always seal after each use. At room temperature, they last for 1 month.
Pickling is favorable to almost all food items. Due to their absorbent texture, pickling eggplants enhances their taste immensely.
Additionally, pickled aubergines are popular in Italian cuisine, where they are commonly referred to as melanzane sott’aceto.
When pickling eggplants, you can go the traditional way of using a brine solution.
Other variations involve preserving them in olive oil and seasonings.
Store pickled eggplants in sterilized mason jars.
How Long Do Pickled Eggplants Last? (In the Fridge)
Refrigerate opened jars and consume within 10 days. Commercially packaged have a longer shelf life due to added preservatives.
Canning is similar to pickling. However, it goes a notch higher as it requires the contents to be processed. You can process using a hot water bath or a canner. By processing, the contents get sealed through pressure application.
Canning plain eggplants is not recommended due to its spongy texture.
A common way of infusing eggplants in canning recipes is to make eggplant salsa. Additional ingredients like tomatoes, oil and seasonings are added.
How Does a Spoiled Eggplant Look Like?
Ready-to-toss eggplants sell themselves out. Here is how to identify them:
- Wrinkled skin
- Brown, softened spots on skin or flesh
- Mold on stem and skin
How to Cook With Eggplant
Eggplant is highly versatile. It also blends well when incorporated in dishes. There are countless eggplant recipes you can experiment with – from baking to pan-frying to roasting to steaming.
Not only this, you can stuff eggplants, bread them for a crispy vegetable treat, mash them to use as a dip, use in salads, prepare the classic eggplant parmesan, toss them in pasta dishes as well as in casseroles.
Eggplants are popular in Italian cuisines, where they are part of the signature ratatouille dish.
How to Select Eggplants
When buying eggplants:
- Look for ones that are firm to the touch. The skin should be shiny, without bruises.
- The smaller the better – these ones are not only sweeter, they are tender and have fewer seeds.
- In addition, choose denser ones which feel heavy when held. This signifies freshness.
Eggplants are versatile but highly perishable. Avoid bulk-buying and preserve the ones at hand using any of the above methods. Let us know how yours turned out!