The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

When are eggplants ripe?

Patio baby eggplant

Eggplants come in various shapes and sizes, and the purple ones are purple from the start. All of those features make it tough to tell when a new-to-you variety is ripe. Here are some hints I scrounged off the internet:

  • Ripe eggplants have a very shiny skin.
  • The eggplant itself should be firm but with some give to it.
  • If you cut the eggplant open, the flesh should be white with (sometimes) a greenish tint. Seeds should be light yellow but not yet brown.
  • Eggplants are best when eaten between 1/3 and 2/3 of their full size. Younger, they may be bitter. Older, they're seedy and over-mature.
Eggplant seeds

I went ahead and plucked the largest fruit on our Patio Baby since the plant was starting to be top heavy from all of those developing eggplants. Based on the information above --- and the taste when sauteed with the year's first green beans and (almost) the spring's last sugar snap peas --- I'd say we chose the picking date a hair early but not excessively so. It's looking like a good year for eggplants!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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