When to Harvest Eggplants for Eating
Harvest ready eggplants depend on the cultivar you planted. For the most part, plants that grow large fruits take from 75 to 95 days from the time you planted the seedlings. Small fruit varieties are ready to pick from 50 to 60 days after transplanting them outside.
If you started your eggplants from seed, they take about 100 to 120 days from seed to harvest.
Ripe eggplants, ready for eating should have the following qualities:
- Shiny skin
- Vibrant color
- Firm skin with no soft spots
- One-third to two-thirds of full size
- Deep green stem
Young Eggplants Are Ideal for Your Recipes
Young eggplants have the best flavor and tender flesh. It’s tempting to allow your eggplants to grow too large, especially when they have beautiful, deep purple skin that looks so tasty. Pick your eggplant while it’s still young, or your favorite eggplant recipes will be ruined by overripe, bitter eggplant.
You can pick eggplant when it’s small enough to fit in your hand. Picking harvest ready eggplant from your garden actually encourages more fruit to grow, giving you plenty of eggplants for the whole season.
When to Harvest Eggplants for Seeds
If you want to harvest your eggplant seeds for growing next growing season, or even further in the future, look for the following qualities:
- Mature size
- Brown and wrinkled skin
- Soft flesh
Store your seeds in an enclosed container in a dry, cool place to keep them viable for planting in the future. About 59°F (15°C) is a good temperature for storage. Also, keep the seeds in the dark, so they don’t start to germinate ahead of time. If you store your seeds correctly, they should last up to five years.