It’s no secret that eggplant is often considered something of a “bland vegetable,” with its flavor not really standing out in any particular way.
But eggplant has a lot going for it — and it’s more than just a mild side dish.
How can you tell if eggplant is bad?
There are several things that can indicate whether an eggplant is good or bad, though none of them are all that reliable.
One thing that might be telling is the color.
If the skin is completely blackened or charred, then it likely means the eggplant was cooked too long, which will result in bitter flavors that won’t taste great.
On the other hand, if the skin is still white, then the eggplant may simply be undercooked.
Another common sign that an eggplant is bad is when it smells like sulfur.
This is because the eggplant itself contains sulfur compounds that give off this smell when heated.
If you want to make sure your eggplant isn’t rotten, check the bottom and stem area first, as these parts tend to get mushy quickly.
The last sign that eggplant is bad is when it starts to split or rot while cooking.
This is usually caused by improper storage.
Eggplant does best when stored at room temperature (which is why it’s so handy as a salad ingredient).
When refrigerated, however, it tends to start rotting and spoiling much faster.
On the flip side, there are plenty of reasons why eggplant is awesome.
First, it’s relatively low in fat, making it a healthy snack option.
It’s also high in fiber, vitamins C and A, and potassium.
Plus, it’s got tons of antioxidants, including resveratrol, quercetin, and anthocyanins.
Finally, eggplant is a great source of iron, magnesium, and calcium.
All of these nutrients are essential for good health, especially since eggplant is such a popular food item.
What are the signs that eggplant is bad?
Eggplant can be very good, but it can also be very bad.
There are a few things you should look out for when buying an eggplant, so you won’t end up with a rotten fruit:
Sunken spots on the skin
Dents on the skin
A soft texture
A slimy surface
Moisture leaking from the stem area
A lack of fragrance
An odor similar to rotting onions
If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t buy the eggplant!
How do you know if eggplant has gone bad?
Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family.
This group includes tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and tomatillos.
Nightshades are known to contain alkaloids (which can cause allergic reactions) and may be toxic.
So, while it may not be advisable to eat an eggplant that’s been sitting around too long, there’s no reason to be alarmed by a fresh eggplant that’s starting to go limp.
What does it mean when eggplant starts to rot?
If an eggplant starts to wilt, turn black, and smell like rotten eggs, then it’s definitely time to toss it out.
The only exception would be if you’re making falafel, where you want the eggplant to be soft enough to mash easily into the batter.
If you don’t mind having a slightly tougher texture, however, you should still throw away the eggplant after a few days because it will start to dry out.
Does eggplant rot quickly?
No, not at all.
In fact, a good rule of thumb is to store eggplant in your fridge for up to 10 days.
It’ll keep for longer if kept in the crisper drawer instead of the produce section, which is why we recommend buying smaller eggplants that won’t take up much room.
Is there a way to tell if eggplant is bad?
Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family — along with tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and tomatillos — and all members share some of the same characteristics.
Nightshades are known to contain alkaloids that can cause vomiting and diarrhea, so it’s important to know how to eat them safely.
If an ingredient is labeled as having high levels of these alkaloids, don’t be afraid to pass on it.
But even if it doesn’t say “high in alkaloids,” it might still be risky to consume.
To help you make an informed decision, here’s a quick rundown of the differences between good and bad eggplant, plus tips on how to get the most out of your next batch.
What makes eggplant good?
Eggplant is low in calories, sodium, fat, and cholesterol, making it a great option for those who want to watch their dietary intake.
It’s also rich in potassium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure.
Plus, eggplant contains plenty of vitamins A and C, and fiber.
These nutrients help promote overall health, as well as keep your digestive system working properly.
What makes eggplant bad?
Eggplant is relatively easy to overcook, especially when compared to other vegetables like potatoes or green beans.
This means that it tends to lose much of its moisture during cooking, resulting in dry flesh and a mushy texture.
Because of this, eggplant generally needs to be cooked through before it can be served up.
Also, because eggplant is usually sold without skin, it’s susceptible to picking up off flavors from the surrounding environment.
For example, if you buy an eggplant at the grocery store that’s been sitting around in the produce section too long, it will likely taste pretty awful.
If you do decide to eat eggplant, it’s always best to rinse it thoroughly before using it.
This helps remove excess salt and dirt that may have accumulated on the outside of the fruit, which can affect the taste.
What are the tell-tale signs of bad eggplant?
Although there are plenty of varieties of eggplant, you can generally divide them up into two categories: purple and green.
Purple eggplants tend to be smaller and sweeter, while green ones are larger and sturdier.
They also have different cooking times, as well as different uses.
In general, purple eggplants will take longer to cook than green ones (up to 20 minutes per pound), and their flesh will turn mushy when cooked.
If all you want to do is roast them, this isn’t much of an issue.
However, if you want to make use of their other attributes — like their ability to absorb flavor, or their high water content — then you’ll have to get them cooked first.
Eggplant is particularly good at absorbing flavors, so it works well in dishes where you’re trying to add extra flavor without increasing the overall weight of your meal.
This is why it’s such a great choice for baking recipes: It doesn’t hold onto moisture very well, so you don’t end up with soggy results.
Plus, if you bake it, it won’t dry out quite as quickly as it would otherwise.
You can use your favorite baked goods recipe, or try making some of our favorites, like this chocolate chip cookie cake or these brownie cupcakes.
Stews and curries
If you’ve got leftover eggplant, chances are you’ve got some leftover sauce, too.
And while you could just throw the whole thing in a pan and call it a day, you might be better off putting it in a stew instead.
If you’re using a meat-based stew, you can either skip the eggplant altogether, or add it in after a few hours of simmering.
You can even leave it raw, which adds another layer of flavor.
Just remember that it takes on a bit more color during cooking.
If you’re using the eggplant as part of a curry, though, you don’t have to worry about it taking on too much color.
After all, you’re working with spices, not vegetables.
You probably don’t think of fried eggplant as a healthy option, but it’s actually pretty low in calories and fat, and packed full of fiber and vitamin C.
It’s also incredibly easy to prepare, since the only thing you need to fry it in is oil.
To maximize the amount of nutrients you get from your fried eggplant, choose small, thin-skinned varieties.
Not only are they easier to eat, but they’re also less likely to soak up too much oil.
How can you tell if an eggplant has gone bad?
Eggplant is known for its ability to absorb flavors well, so it’s easy to see why it’s been called “the poor man’s zucchini” (or sometimes “poor man’s squash”).
It’s also a great source of vitamins C and B6, as well as potassium.
But there are some things that you should keep in mind when choosing an eggplant.
First of all, eggplants tend to be smaller than other vegetables, which means that even though they’re good for you, they may not be large enough to make a meal of on their own.
Also, eggplant does not store well, especially after it goes black.
So don’t buy too much at once, and try to use it up within a couple of weeks.
There are many different varieties of eggplant, including long, round ones and small, oblong ones.
The size of your eggplant will determine how you cook it.
For instance, if you want to bake an eggplant whole, you’ll probably need to get one that’s around 1 pound (450 grams) or larger.
If you want to slice it into pieces, then you might choose a smaller variety, like a Japanese eggplant, which is usually less than half an inch thick.
That said, there are some common problems that you might run into when buying eggplant.
One thing that you should look for is bruising.
Bruising indicates that the eggplant was bruised by handling or transport, which can cause it to spoil quickly.
Other signs of spoilage include discoloration, mold, and soft spots.
To avoid these issues, you should always purchase your eggplant from a reputable grocery store.
And when you do find yourself with an eggplant that looks a little rotten, you can still salvage it by using it for cooking.
Just remember that the longer you leave it out, the more likely it is to go bad.
You can also freeze it, although it’s best to cook frozen eggplant before you eat it.
Is there a way to tell if an eggplant is bad?
The short answer is that yes, there are some things you can do to determine whether an eggplant is good or bad.
For example, you should always buy eggplant that looks firm and heavy for its size.
If it feels spongy when pressed, or if it’s starting to become mushy, don’t buy it.
Another thing to look for is a strong eggplant smell.
It shouldn’t be overpowering, but it should definitely be present.
If you get a whiff of this, run!
Run as fast as possible!
If your eggplant still smells good after you’ve gotten home, that’s another sign that it’s fine — even though it could still taste slightly off.
The problem is, sometimes you won’t notice a smell until it’s too late.
So, while you might not want to eat an eggplant right away, you definitely want to keep it around so you can test it later.
Of course, you also want to make sure you wash it well before cooking it.
You should never use soap on eggplant because it can affect the texture of the skin.
Instead, scrub it clean with water and a brush.
Then pat it dry thoroughly before using it.
You can also cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices.
This will allow you to see if the flesh inside is firm enough for your liking.
If you find that it’s soft and squishy, then you probably don’t want to eat it.
Keep reading below to learn other ways to tell if an eggplant is bad.
Eggplant is bland
In truth, eggplant isn’t all that flavorful.
While it does have a slight hint of sweetness, and a little bit of bitterness, both of these flavors are quite faint.
What makes eggplant stand out is its bright purple color, which is caused by anthocyanins.
These compounds give eggplant its distinct coloring, but they also contribute to its blandness.
Anthocyanins aren’t found in all vegetables, but they are found in a number of fruits and veggies like blueberries, black grapes, red cabbage, and cranberries.
So, if you’re looking for a vegetable that’s got a distinctive flavor, look elsewhere.
In fact, most people would agree that eggplant doesn’t have much of one at all.
However, there are several ways to turn eggplant into something delicious, so we’ll go through those next.
What are some signs that an eggplant is bad?
Eggplant can be good or bad depending on where it comes from and how it’s handled.
The most common reason for why people don’t like eggplant is because it’s usually overcooked, which destroys all of its subtle flavors.
In addition, some people find that eggplant has a bitter aftertaste when cooked improperly.
The bitterness is due to the chemical solanine, which is present in eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and other nightshades.
However, cooking eggplant properly will eliminate this bitterness.
If you’re wondering whether your eggplant is safe to eat, here are some tips for avoiding a bad eggplant.
If you’ve already eaten an undercooked eggplant, you should also check out our guide to treating food poisoning.
The texture of the skin
One of the best indicators that an eggplant is bad is the appearance of the skin.
A bad eggplant may have a thin skin that feels rubbery when pressed, while a good eggplant will have a thick skin that is firm to the touch.
You can also use this method to test the ripeness of an eggplant by touching the stem end (the thicker part) of the fruit.
It should feel firm, not mushy, and have a slight give when squeezed.
The color of the flesh
Bad eggplants tend to be pale yellow or greenish yellow, while good ones are bright orange or red.
This is especially true if the eggplant is still immature, as the skin will be darker.
The smell of the flesh
A bad eggplant will have a strong odor, while a good one will smell fresh and sweet.
The taste of the flesh
When it comes to tasting the flesh, a bad eggplant will taste bland and watery, while a good one will be rich and flavorful.
The texture of the flesh
A bad eggplant will have a spongy texture, while a good one will be dense and firm.
You can also press the flesh of a bad eggplant between your fingers, then release it to see if it springs back up immediately or slowly.
The type of seeds and leaves remaining inside the fruit
Good eggplants will have large seeds that are hard to remove, while bad ones will have small seeds that easily come out of the flesh.
Also, while inspecting the leaves, look for those that are dark green and smooth, and free of blemishes.
These indicate that the plant was grown organically and that it hasn’t been treated with pesticides.
How do you tell if an eggplant has gone bad?
If you’re wondering whether your eggplant has gone bad, there are some things you can look for when buying it.
The first thing to check is if the skin looks bruised or discolored.
This could be caused by too much light exposure (especially during shipping) or by bruising from mishandling.
If the eggplant feels soft to touch, that’s another sign that it’s past its prime, especially if it’s been sitting around for a while.
The next step is to smell it.
Freshly cut eggplant stinks like a cross between rotten cheese and the ammonia from a diaper.
If the odor isn’t apparent, then you probably don’t want to eat the eggplant anyway.
It doesn’t take long for an eggplant to go bad though, so if you don’t notice the off smell right away, keep it out of your refrigerator until you do.
As far as cooking goes, the best way to tell if an eggplant has gone bad is to put it into a microwave oven.
Microwaves are great at destroying food without heating up the rest of your kitchen, which is why they’re perfect for drying plants out.
To test the eggplant, put a piece onto the plate and microwave it for 2 minutes on high power.
If it’s still edible after that amount of time, then it might be okay to eat.
Otherwise, toss it immediately.
How to make eggplant in the microwave
- 1 microwave
- Wash your eggplant and pat dry. Cut in half lengthwise and remove the ends. Using the tip of your knife, puncture small holes on the cut side of each eggplant piece.
- Bake or grill eggplant pieces at 450ºF for 10–15 minutes (depending on size) until slightly softened, turning as necessary to ensure even cooking. Set aside or allow to cool; slice into ¼-inch thick slices and set aside.
- In a small bowl combine basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste with lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce until well blended (about 2 minutes). Set aside.
- Drop eggplant slices into prepared marinade and toss to coat; if desired top with sesame seeds. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours before serving, or overnight (this will make them even more delicious!).
- To make eggplant a little more filling add some minced garlic, seeds, salt, and pepper.