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How to Tell When Japanese Eggplant Is Ripe

If you're growing Japanese eggplant for the first time, you might not know how to tell when it's ripe. Japanese eggplants are long and thin, rather than the large, pear-shape of traditional eggplants. Some Japanese varieties even have a spiral shape. Looking for several signs of ripeness will make it easier for you to know when to pick your Japanese eggplants.

How Many Days for Ripe Japanese Eggplant

The most popular variety of Japanese eggplant is Ichiban, so many gardeners choose it for growing. These eggplants are tender, sweet and mild. Unlike traditional eggplants, such as Black Beauty, the skin of Japanese eggplant is thin. The fruit is deep purple, growing to about 10-inches long. If the weather and soil conditions are right, this Japanese eggplant variety reaches maturity in 50 to 60 days.

Signs of Ripe Japanese Eggplant

The first thing to look for when deciding if your Japanese eggplant isready for picking is to inspect the skin. It should be shiny and firm. If you press your finger on the skin, it shouldn’t leave a dent in the flesh. Pick your eggplants before while they’re still young for the best flavor and texture. They should only be from 3 to 6 inches long, which is young enough for the sweetest flavor. When you pick your eggplants, leave the stem connected, so the flesh doesn’t turn brown from exposure to the air.

Signs of Overripe Japanese Eggplant

If you’ve let your eggplants grow beyond 6 inches, you might be able to salvage them, if they’re not showing signs of over ripeness yet. You can tell if yourJapanese eggplants are overripe and too bitter for eating by looking for the following:

  • Yellow or dull skin
  • Mushy texture
  • Soft spots

Following these tips on how to tell if your Japanese eggplant is ripe will give you sweet, tender eggplants for all your favorite recipes. Just remember to pick your eggplants while they’re still young, and you should be all set.

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