The Best Place to Store Eggplant Is Not in the Refrigerator

Ingredient Intelligence

I just received two plump eggplants from my CSA, and as I was sticking them in the refrigerator, I suddenly questioned whether this was the right move. Remember that tip for storing cucumbers? Turns out eggplant is similar.

Until now, my go-to storage spot for eggplant has always been in the refrigerator — either the crisper drawer or bottom shelf, depending on the size.

The Best Place to Store Eggplant

The best place to store eggplant is not in the refrigerator, but at room temperature, where it's likely to last longer.

Keep eggplant in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight, and use it as soon as possible after harvesting or buying. You can place it in a vented bowl, but avoid sealing it in a plastic bag, which can increase decay.

Like cucumbers, eggplant is temperature sensitive — particularly when temps dip below 50°F, which can damage the texture and flavor. And according to UC Davis, when subjected to temperatures below 41°F for an extended period, eggplant is prone to chilling injuries, including pitting, surface bronzing, and browning of seeds and pulp tissue.

Eggplant is also highly sensitive to ethylene, a natural gas that causes certain foods to ripen (and eventually spoil) very quickly. So it's best to keep eggplant stored separately from bananas, tomatoes, and melons, which are all high ethylene producers.

And if you insist on keeping your eggplant in the fridge, limit it to no more than three days, and use it soon after removal.

This post has been updated - originally published July 2012.

(Image credits: Olga Pink/Shutterstock)