When to harvest eggplant
- Harvest eggplants when they are firm and glossy and big enough to eat—about one-third of their maximum size.
- To test eggplant fruit for maturity, press the fruit with your thumb; if the flesh springs back it’s green and not ripe; if your thumb leaves an indentation, the fruit is overripe; the best-tasting eggplant will be in between.
- A just ripe eggplant when sliced will have soft, well-formed but immature seeds; an immature and unripe eggplant will have no visible seeds; an overripe eggplant will have hard, dark seeds. (Seeds forming inside the fruit cause the skin to go from shiny to dull.) Both an under-ripe and overripe eggplant will be bitter tasting.
- It is better to harvest eggplant just before it’s ripe than to wait too long.