Eggplants have grown in popularity over the last couple of years, with vegetarian and vegan meals becoming increasingly popular. While some people hate them, others love them. However, one sure thing is that you can grow your own beautiful eggplants in your garden without too much effort. So when are eggplants in season, you might ask?
Eggplants can be harvested year-round if cared for properly. However, commercial eggplants are in season during the summer months, from June until October. If they are grown in warmer climates, such as Florida, eggplants can be harvested as late as November.
When Are Eggplants In Season?
Eggplants are usually in season during summer. In America, eggplants are harvested in June, July, August, September, and October. While eggplants can practically grow everywhere, the biggest eggplant farms in America are in New Jersey, California, Florida, and Georgia.
New Jersey is the biggest supplier of eggplants in America. This is due to the warmer climate and favorable soil conditions. In New Jersey, eggplants can be harvested until as late as November, meaning that the eggplants have a more extended season.
What Are The Different Varieties Of Eggplants?
There are many varieties of eggplants. The most common ones are the Black Beauty eggplants and Chinese eggplants. In addition, some eggplants are white, green, orange, and some have stripes.
What Is A Black Beauty Eggplant?
Black beauty eggplants are an heirloom type of eggplant. They tend to have large yields, and the eggplants have a nice, meaty texture. It is also known as a globe eggplant and is the type of eggplant you can most commonly find in the supermarket.
Black beauty eggplants grow to become about 30 inches tall, and a perfect black beauty eggplant weighs around two pounds. Black beauty eggplants tend to last a bit longer than some of the other varieties, and they are great for grilling and baking or as a meat substitute.
What Is A Chinese Eggplant?
The Chinese eggplant is a slender, deep-purple eggplant. It doesn’t have a lot of seeds and has a creamy, delicate texture.
Chinese eggplants are easy to grow. However, they don’t do well in cold climates, and the soil should also be at a moderate temperature.
These eggplants contain less moisture, making them more suitable for frying than globe eggplants. In addition, their uniform shapes mean they can be cut into even discs, and they retain the most flavor when baked.
When Should You Harvest Your Eggplants?
After planting your seeds, your eggplants should be ready to harvest within 100 to 120 days. The eggplants ready for harvest will be bright, with shiny skins. If you touch the eggplants, they should feel firm and heavy. If the eggplants feel too light, leave them a while longer to mature a bit more.
Eggplants need plenty of sun to grow and ripen. If your eggplant is potted, be sure to move it to a sunny location. Then, when you are ready to harvest your eggplant, you can follow these steps.
To harvest your eggplant, use a pair of scissors and cut the eggplant off the plant, about one to two inches above the cap of the eggplant.
Eggplants that feel too soft have bad spots, or wrinkly skins should be tossed because they are overripe. Overripe eggplants taste bitter, and they have an unpleasant texture.
How Do You Store Eggplants Correctly?
You don’t have to wash your eggplants, but you can if you prefer to. The best way to store eggplant is to leave it whole and store it in a cool, dry place. Eggplants are temperature sensitive. Therefore, you shouldn’t keep your eggplant in the refrigerator. Instead, choose a cool spot in your house to store it in.
You can store your eggplants in a paper bag or wrapped in newspaper. This will allow the eggplant to get oxygen, which will keep it from sweating. However, eggplants do not last very long once they have been harvested. Therefore, it is best to use them as soon as possible to avoid them turning overripe.
Eggplants do ripen quickly off the vine, so it is best only to harvest the amount of eggplant you need at a time while they are in season.
Can You Freeze Eggplants?
If you have too many eggplants to use before they rot, or you want to keep some eggplants for later use, you can freeze your eggplants for up to eight months. However, you should firstly bake your eggplants slightly to remove some of the moisture in them.
If you freeze a raw eggplant, it will be soggy when it thaws. Here is how to prepare eggplant for freezing:
- Firstly, you must cut the eggplant into one-inch discs.
- Next, put them on a baking tray in a single layer and bake for about 15 minutes at 350°F.
- Once the eggplant has entirely cooled after baking, you can place the slices into a freezer bag. Be sure to separate the slices with some parchment paper, or else they will stick to each other.
- You can then freeze your eggplant slices.
How Do You Cook An Eggplant Perfectly?
Eggplants act like sponges. They absorb any flavors you use with them. Unfortunately, they also act like sponges and turn soggy if they are not cooked correctly.
Some people like to roast their eggplants whole, in which case you can simply put it in the oven until it turns soft. You can then scoop out the smooth and creamy flesh.
However, if you want to fry or bake your eggplants, a little more preparation is needed. To prepare your eggplant for cooking, you first need to cut off the cap of the eggplant.
Then, you can either peel the eggplant or leave the peel on. Eggplant peels are entirely safe to eat. However, they may be a little tough.
After peeling your eggplant (if you choose to peel it), you can cut the eggplant into discs or chunks, depending on the dish you are making. Inside the eggplant, you will see the seeds. Eggplant seeds are safe to eat and contain a lot of nutrients. Therefore, there is no need to remove the seeds.
If you are using globe eggplant, it will be good to draw out some of the moisture before cooking the eggplant. Globe eggplants have more water than oriental eggplants and can turn soggy if you cook them.
You need to lay the eggplant on some paper towels and sprinkle them with salt to draw out the moisture. After waiting a couple of minutes, you can pat the eggplants dry. Then, you are ready to cook your eggplants.
Even though drawing out the moisture might seem like a lot of effort, it is worth giving you a great-tasting dish. You can find many excellent dishes that use eggplants, such as Moussaka and Chinese-style pan-fried eggplant.