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When to Harvest Eggplant?

When to harvest eggplant

Eggplant, also known as an aubergine, is a part of the nightshade family of plants. This fruit has a unique flavor with a distinct richness to it when cooked. For this reason, eggplant is a very popular food choice and it can be incorporated into almost every recipe. In fact it has such a savory and meaty flavor and texture that many vegetarians love consuming eggplants as a great meat alternative.

With high fiber content, and a good dose of vitamins and minerals; eggplant has lots of health benefits, and aids in digestion. It is also high in iron and calcium, so keeping eggplant in your diet has many positive impacts on overall health.

The eggplant prefers warm growing conditions for a continuous 3 months. Cold, chilly weather or soil can majorly hinder their growth and encourage pest attacks. Loose and fine, well-drained soil with high organic matter with a pH between 5.8 and 6.5 works best. A moderate amount of fertilizer is also a requirement. One important factor is understanding when the vegetable is ripe and when to harvest eggplant.

Eggplant Harvest Time – When to pick your Eggplant

For any plant you grow, the time to harvest depends on when you plant it. Keeping in mind that eggplant needs warm weather to thrive, the ideal date to plant is after the last threat of frost. About 8 to 9 weeks after the last spring frost would be a good time for planting. But ultimately, it depends on the climate of your area. We highly recommend you keep a planting calculator to keep track of your dates.

Now you can calculate the estimated eggplant harvest time. This duration will also depend on whether you are growing eggplant from seeds or transplants. If you planted seeds, you can expect about 100 to 150 days till harvest. In the case of transplants, it can take 70 to 85 days to fully mature.

The plant needs warmth all throughout its growing and maturing time. So make sure that you plant it late enough to not be affected by frosts but not too late that it will get too cold within the 150 days of its maturing period.

You can always look at more varieties and choose the fast-maturing ones too. Depending on the variety and date of planting, the months of July, August, September and even October can all be eggplant harvest months.

When is Eggplant Ripe?

When it comes to eggplant, it’s best not to wait too long and just harvest it as soon as it’s ripe. In fact, it tastes even better when young. But when is eggplant ripe and how can you tell? Simply look out for some simple cues to guide you about when to harvest eggplants.

If the fruit has a visibly glossy coating on the outside, it’s ready for harvest. But if it looks dull, and has brown colored seeds- it is overripe. You should pick the eggplant before this point. In fact, slightly under-mature eggplants have the best flavor.

You can also test the ripeness by squeezing the fruit. If it leaves behind an indentation, don’t harvest it. But if the fruits’ skin bounces back- this means it is ripe and ready.

Remember to be gentle while you pick it and don’t pull the fruit too hard. It is better to use a pair of sharp shears to cut a few inches if the stem from the fruit. Cutting it at the stem a few inches away from the fruit also helps prevent spoiling the fruit too fast. Also use the eggplant soon after as they can deteriorate pretty quickly.

When to Harvest White Eggplant?

when to pick eggplant

Eggplant is not just limited to its’ vibrant purple color. There are lots of varieties, the white eggplant being a very popular choice. The white eggplant is curvy and oblong in appearance. It will also have a mildly sweet and creamy flavor once cooked. It’s worth growing white eggplants as well if you’re truly invested in growing eggplants.

Growing the white varieties is the same as purple ones, but when to harvest white eggplant? You should expect to wait for about 75 days, while providing the plant with a full sun and regularly watering it. White Star, Comet and Casper are some of the most popular varieties of white eggplants that all take an average of 70 to 75 days to mature.

You will know your white eggplants are ripe when they turn glossy and have firm skin while turning into a cream or white shade. If you wait too long to harvest, white eggplant can become bitter and spongy. You can also cut open and check the seeds for ripeness. If they’re white or ivory in color, this means they’re ripe. Meanwhile, dark seeds indicate over-ripeness. If the skin of white eggplants is turning yellow, this also means they’re over-ripe.

When to Harvest Ichiban Eggplant

Ichiban is a popular Japanese variety of eggplant which is different than the traditional eggplant. It is a miniature version of the fruit with a milder flavour and tender skin. This variety is one of the fastest maturing ones. The ichiban eggplant has a deep midnight purple colour and is long and slender. They taste great when grilled, fried, baked or stir-fried.

The ichiban eggplant does not take long to mature. They require a frost-free warm season to thrive. So how would you know when to harvest ichiban eggplant? Typically it is ready to be picked in 70 days. Once the eggplant is 6 to 8 inches long, it is at its’ prime ripeness. For the finest texture and taste, pick ichiban eggplant at the right time.

When harvesting Japanese ichiban eggplants, it is best to do so once or twice every week as they reach maturity. Frequently harvesting it will encourage more yield and fruit production.

General Eggplant Care Tips

Like a lot of fruit bearing plants (like an apple tree), eggplant needs a spot that gets a full sun for optimal growth. Aside from a full sun, eggplants need a warm piece of your garden soil to effectively grow. Especially if you arae planting from seeds, it will need the soil to be around 78 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 30 degrees Celsius) so it can germinate. The soil has to maintain that temperature for two to three weeks for a successful germination.

However, if you are planting your eggplant indoors and then transplanting it later on, make sure that the temperature outside is consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celcius). If you are planting multiple eggplants, make sure that they have a gap of 18 inches between each other.

The soil should be fertile and well-drained. A fertile soil is necessary for any fruit-bearing plant. You can use any organic material such as aged compost as fertilizer. Keeping the soil moist, not wet,  is also of the utmost importance.

Like the cucumber, eggplants need consistency of moisture in the soil they are planted in. Water your eggplant regularly, especially in its early life to help it establish deep roots. Avoid overhead watering though, as that can cause diseases in the leaves that will damage the entire plant. Eggplants generally need about an inch of water each week.

To help keep the soil warm, moist and help keep weeds from getting the nutrients out, consider using mulch.


There is so much you can do with the eggplant especially if you’re a cooking enthusiast. There is an entire range of dishes you can incorporate this tasty fruit into. Try a tasty Baba ganoush which is an eggplant dip or garlic and parmesan roll-ups for tasty appetizers. Eggplant soup is another comfort food you would surely love. You can also cook salmon with eggplant, and chicken stuffed with eggplant. There’s an endless array of options.

Why not grow eggplant at home and enjoy its versatility in the kitchen and on the dinner table? It is not a demanding plant, has basic needs, and it is easy to care for. The most important tip is to pick eggplant when it is ripe, rather than over-ripe. Just give them a warm growing season, good soil, and remember when to harvest eggplants- you will surely love this gardening activity!

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