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NC State Extension

Postharvest Produce Guide – Eggplant

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Common eggplant is dark purple/black, 6”- 9” long. Fruit is firm, skin is smooth, glossy, free of marks, pits, or damage from insects, disease or handling. Eggplant is harvested at an immature stage.

black Italian eggplant

Other varieties have variations in color (from black, white, and lavender, to striated purple and white), and form (long and narrow, short and wide).

long, light purple eggplant

purple and white eggplant

Rosa Bianca variety eggplant

Paloma variety eggplant

A solanaceous crop, eggplants should have field heat removed quickly, store above 50°F at 90-95% RH for up to 14 days. Eggplant is subject to chilling injury below 50°.

Quality Specifications

Fruit is firm, skin is smooth, glossy, free of marks, pits, or damage from insects, disease or handling.

Calliope variety of eggplant

Common Quality Issues

Eggplant over 9” may be over mature. Seeds will be brown and hard if fruit is mature and is past marketability. Fruit becomes pithy and bitter at this stage.

various sized eggplants

Calyx should be fresh and green. A dull calyx is a sign of over-maturity and/or old product. Exposure to ethylene may result in calyx browning. Skin should be free of of scarring or damage.

eggplant with injury

Storing below 50°F may result in cold damage, which appears as pitting and bronzing of the skin, browning of tissue and seeds. Chilling injury is cumulative postharvest.

Eggplant with visible pitting.