By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Learning when to harvest eggplants results in the tastiest and most tender of the fruit. Leaving the eggplant harvest too long causes bitter eggplant with a tough skin and large seeds. Learning how to harvest an eggplant correctly comes with practice, but it shouldn’t take long before you’re picking an eggplant like a pro.
When to Harvest Eggplants
A member of the nightshade family and a relative of tomatoes, the appearance of the skin can direct you to picking an eggplant. Skin should be glossy and thin. Eggplant harvest may begin when the fruits are developed and small, but growing fruits to full size before harvesting eggplants results in more fruit for usage.
Harvesting eggplants should occur when the inner flesh is cream colored, fruits are firm and before seeds are visible. Learning when to harvest eggplants may require cutting into the fruit to check the color of the flesh and the size of the seeds. Skin color and size of the fruit will also determine when the eggplant harvest should begin.
When you’ve learned how to harvest an eggplant, less cutting into the fruit is necessary. You’ll be able to determine when to begin the eggplant harvest by just looking at the fruit.
Picking an Eggplant
Once you’ve determined that it’s time to start the eggplant harvest, wear gloves and long sleeves, as the eggplant stem has prickles, which can irritate the skin.
When harvesting eggplants, treat the fruit gently, as it bruises easily. Harvesting eggplants includes cutting a short piece of stem above the calyx (cap) attached to the top of the fruit. Use pruners or a sharp knife.
Harvesting eggplants at their prime may take several days to a few weeks in succession, and frequent eggplant harvest promotes heavier yield of the fruit.
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