This article is all about storing eggplants. Learn what’s the best way to store an eggplant and if and when you need to refrigerate them.
Bought a bunch of eggplants and not sure whether you should chuck them in the fridge or not? How to store an eggplant?
The best place to store eggplant is a cool pantry or basement at 50-54°F (10-12°C) and away from direct sunlight. In such conditions, an eggplant lasts about a week. Alternatively, you can store eggplants in the crisper drawer for 7 days, but there’s a risk of chilling injury.
That’s the primer on storing eggplants.
Want to learn more? Here’s what we cover below:
- details on various ways of storing eggplants
- if and when you should refrigerate them
- storing cut and cooked eggplants
How to Store Eggplant
The optimal place to store eggplants is a cool but not cold place with temperature between 50°F and 54°F (or 10-12°C). Eggplants keep for about a week in such a place. If that’s not an option, you can either refrigerate your eggplants for about a week or leave them at room temperature, where they’ll keep for 3 to 4 days.
No matter where you keep your eggplants, remember that they’re sensitive to ethylene. That means you should store them away from bananas, apples, pears, and other ethylene-producing fruits and veggies. Unless, of course, the eggplants are in a bag protecting them from the gas.
Now, you might’ve read that the fridge isn’t ideal for storing eggplants. That’s true because eggplants are sensitive to chilling injury.
In practical terms, that means if you refrigerate eggplant, you should keep it in the warmest place in the fridge. That usually means the veggie should sit near the door, where the temperature tends to be highest.
That’s all well and good, but there’s one more thing to consider: eggplants prefer spaces with high humidity. And the most humid place in the fridge is usually the crisper drawer, so that’s the recommended storage place in the refrigerator, even though it’s not the warmest.
In short, if you refrigerate eggplants, keep them either in the crisper or on a shelf near the door. If you go with the latter, place the veggies in a plastic bag to help them retain moisture. And if your fridge tends to run cold, avoid the crisper if the freezer is right below it.
Last but not least, if you need more than a week of storage time, consider freezing your eggplants.
Related: How long does eggplant last?
Now, it’s time to talk about refrigerating eggplants in more detail.
Does an Eggplant Need to Be Refrigerated?
Eggplants don’t require refrigeration, but that’s the second best storage option.
Eggplant lasts a week if refrigerated, which is as long as it keeps in an ideal storage space that keeps the temperature between 50 and 54°F (10-12°C). If you’re going to use that eggplant within 2 to 4 days, you can skip the fridge and leave it on the counter.
As you already know, eggplants are sensitive to temperatures below 50°F (10°C). And the lower the temperature, the sooner the chilling injury will set in.
At 41°F (5°C), which is the temperature you should have in your fridge if it’s not running cold, the injuries such as pitting, surface bronzing, and browning of seeds and pulp will show up in 6 to 8 days.
(That’s why I say eggplants keep for about a week in the fridge.)
Here’s an eggplant that sat in the fridge for a couple of days too long:
Leaving your eggplants at room temperature is an alternative, but that reduces their shelf life to 3 to 4 days. Or even less, if it’s the middle of a hot summer and you’re not running AC all day long.
Long story short, while a refrigerator isn’t an ideal place to store eggplant, unless you have a cool but not refrigerator-like cold spot, the fridge is best if you care about storage time.
How to Store Cut Eggplant
Cut eggplants should be refrigerated in a freezer bag or an airtight container, where they’ll last 3 to 4 days. If you want to stop yours from turning brown, spray all the pieces thoroughly with lemon juice.
Freezer bags work great for large pieces, like halves, quarters, or slices. An airtight container is usually more convenient for smaller pieces, such as cubed or shredded eggplant, as you can wash it in the dishwasher.
Eggplant flesh turns brown quite quickly, and if that’s going to bother you, toss the slices in some lemon or lime juice. And make sure the flesh is sprayed with the juice thoroughly so that you don’t end up with brown spots here and there.
(Any other acidic liquid such as vinegar should work too, except you probably don’t want to pour vinegar over your eggplants. Lemon juice is a much safer option if you don’t want to alter their flavor.)
Last, expect some moisture in the bag or container after a day or so of storage. You can either strain it before using the vegetable or line the bag or container with paper towels to catch that moisture. And change those towels once they’re soaked.
If you’re making eggplant patties, fritters, or any other dish that relies on the water content of the eggplant, you probably shouldn’t discard that water. Unless the recipe includes sweating the eggplant, of course.
How to Store Cooked Eggplant
Store cooked eggplant and any cooked eggplant dishes in a freezer bag or resealable container and in the fridge. Make sure the container or bag is sealed tight and eat the eggplant within 3 to 4 days.
But before you refrigerate it, let it cool a bit. Just make sure it doesn’t sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours to limit to a minimum any possible bacterial growth.
(30 to 60 minutes on the counter should be more than enough for whatever you cooked to cool to a reasonable temperature and be ready for refrigeration.)
Last but not least, if you need more time than the given 3 to 4-day period, you can often freeze the cooked eggplant or the dish it’s in. Just keep in mind that some cooked eggplant dishes freeze great (e.g., eggplant patties or fritters), while others are not as great (roasted eggplant, for instance). That’s something to consider on a case-by-case basis.