eggplant-picking

How Long until Eggplant Picking Time

If your eggplant bushes have several young, shiny fruits, it's time to pick your eggplants. The main concern when picking eggplant is to leave the stem on the fruit, and try not to damage the branches. All the hard work pays off when you have a basket full of young, tender eggplants.

How Long until Harvest?

The number of days until you can pick your eggplants depends on the weather in your area. If you live in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 through 10, your eggplants will reach maturity in 70 to 120 days, if grown from seeds. It depends on the eggplant variety, and the number of warm days you have during the growing season. When picking eggplant, you won’t wait until the fruit reaches maturity because eggplants have the best flavor when harvested while they’re young.

When Are Eggplants Ripe?

You might be wondering how you can tell if your eggplants are ready for picking, not too young and not too old. If you see the following physical signs on your fruit, then they’re ready for harvesting:

  • Shiny skin
  • Firm skin with no soft spots
  • One-third to two-thirds of their adult size
  • Does not leave a dent when pressed with a finger

Signs of Overripe Eggplants

When the eggplant skin appears dull or wrinkled, it’s overripe. The fruit also starts to turn yellow, the longer it remains on the vine. If you tap on the eggplant, and it seems hollow, the flesh inside is dry, and too old to eat. Overripe eggplant tastes bitter and has a spongy texture. If your eggplants are overripe, you can harvest the seeds for using in next year’s garden.

Storing Eggplant

For the best flavor, try to eat your eggplants right away because they have a short shelf life. This isn’t always possible, especially if you have a successful harvest. You can store eggplant overnight on the counter, or in the refrigerator for about a week.

You can also freeze eggplant for later use. Freezing eggplant is the best way to preserve eggplant because the fruit doesn’t can well. You can blanche and freeze, roast and freeze or fry and freeze, then just take it out of the freezer to use in your favorite eggplant recipes.