Harvesting eggplants from your vegetable garden is very satisfying but it’s important to harvest them at the right time.
In this article I’ll tell you when eggplants are ready to harvest, the best way to pick them, and give you tips for using and storing eggplants from your garden.
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Eggplants, also known as aubergines, are part of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) with other vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes. 
They’re classified as a perennial plant, but most gardeners grow them as annuals and plant new seeds each spring.
When to harvest eggplants
Eggplants are ready to pick in mid to late summer.
It takes between 100 and 120 days from planting to harvesting depending on the variety.
Eggplants can be bitter tasting if picked too early or too late, so it’s important to harvest your eggplants at the right time.
You can tell that eggplants are ready to harvest when the skin is glossy and firm.
The skin should bounce back if you give the eggplant a gentle squeeze
They should have small seeds inside, but if the seeds are dark, it’s means that the eggplant is overripe.
If it’s your first time harvesting eggplants you may like to cut one open to check that the flesh is cream colored and the seeds are formed but not dark in color.
I like to harvest my eggplants when they are about 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) long.
Once you starting harvesting, you’ll need to check the plants every couple of days to pick any eggplants that are ready.
If you harvest the eggplants regularly you’ll get a more abundant crop.
How to pick eggplants
Remove the eggplants from the stem using pruning shears or a sharp knife, leaving a small piece of stem above the cap attached to the eggplant.
Don’t try to pull the eggplants off because you’ll damage the plant.
Eggplants can bruise easily, so take care to handle them gently.
The plants can irritate your skin so it’s a good idea to wear gloves when picking eggplants.
How many eggplants do you get per plant?
You can expect up to 12 eggplants per plant depending on the variety.
Smaller varieties like Chinese eggplants and Baby eggplants will produce more fruits than larger varieties like Globe or Black Beauty.
How to store eggplants
Freshly picked eggplants can be stored in the crisper section of the refrigerator for up to a week.
Avoid washing or slicing the eggplants before refrigerating and store them away from tomatoes and apples because they produce ethylene gas, which can cause the eggplants to turn brown and rot.
How to use eggplants
Eggplants can be roasted, fried, stuffed, grilled, stir fried or steamed.
You can also make eggplant lasagna, ratatouille or eggplant dip.
Eggplants discolor rapidly when cut, so it’s best to cut them just before using.
So there are my tips for harvesting and storing eggplants from your garden.
The steps for picking eggplants are fairly simple so it’s definitely worth planting a few eggplant plants in your vegetable garden.
Please let me know if you have any questions about harvesting eggplants.
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