Storing eggplant successfully can be done at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer. This fruit is delicate, so some of the processes for storing it may be time consuming. The length of time an eggplant stays fresh, however, can be directly affected by the type of storage used.
An eggplant is technically a fruit, although many believe it be a vegetable. It is a member of the nightshade, or Solanaceae, family. This fruit comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the skin color of an eggplant usually depends on the type of eggplant and the way it was cultivated. Skins range in color and may appear as white, green, yellow, purple, or even black; sometimes it has a mottled or multi-colored appearance, too. The inside of the fruit is green when it is premature and white when it is mature.
When storing eggplant at room temperature, outside of the refrigerator, the fruit must be kept whole. It will go bad quickly at room temperature if the skin has been cut. Kept whole, however, eggplant will stay fresh for up to three days.
Using a refrigerator can lengthen the lifespan of this fruit. If left uncut, eggplant can be stored for up to five days in the fridge. Before storing eggplant this way, though, individuals should always remove any plastic wrapping and use warm water to clean it. When placing the eggplant in the refrigerator, it is important to handle the fruit with care to avoid piercing the skin in any way. The eggplant should be placed at the bottom of the fridge; the crisper drawer is most often used when storing eggplant due to the fact that it is warmer than the rest of the refrigerator.
Long-term storage of an eggplant involves using a freezer. In this method, the eggplant must be washed, the tops must be cut off, and it should be skinned. It can then be cut into pieces and soaked in a mixture of boiling water and lemon juice. After it has been allowed to boil in this mixture for a little less than five minutes, it can be placed in ice water to stop the cooking process.
When storing eggplant in the freezer, vacuum or freezer bags can be used. Freezer bags can keep the fruit fresh for up to five months. Vacuum bags keep the eggplant good for up to 14 months. When the fruit is needed, it can be thawed and cooked.