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How To Tell If Eggplant Is Bad

Discovering how to tell if an eggplant is bad can save you from a disappointing and potentially harmful culinary experience.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key signs that indicate an eggplant has gone bad, from appearance to texture and smell.

Say goodbye to unpleasant surprises and learn how to confidently choose the freshest and safest eggplants for your favorite recipes.

How to tell if an eggplant is bad


If eggplant is bad, it will have brown or black discoloration on the skin. The flesh of the eggplant will also be brown or mushy. If you see these signs, it is best to discard the eggplant.

Four eggplant o a wood tray

Cooking an eggplant dish can be a delicious way to enjoy the popular vegetable, but before you begin, it’s important to know how to tell if your eggplant is bad. Luckily, there are some quick inspection tips to help you determine the quality of your eggplant.

How it looks

The best way to tell if an eggplant is good or bad just by its appearance is to look for one that is a deep but vibrant purple, shiny, and not wrinkled at all.

The eggplant’s skin should appear taut and should feel firm when pressed. If the skin of the eggplant looks dull or otherwise old, appears brown or yellow, or has wrinkles, it is best to pass it up.

How to feels

Using the feel and texture of an eggplant can help you determine if it is bad or not. If the skin is thin and feels rubbery when pressed, this is a sign that it is bad.

Additionally, press the stem end of the fruit; it should feel firm and have a slight give when squeezed.

If the flesh of the eggplant is spongy or has a slimy texture, then it is definitely past its prime and not suitable for eating.

Lastly, check the weight and firmness of the eggplant; if it feels soft or is significantly lighter than a fresh one, it is likely bad and should be discarded.

How it smells

An eggplant that has gone bad will have an unpleasant smell that can be described as sour, bitter, or slightly rotten.

This smell is much stronger than the mild smell of a fresh eggplant, which should not have any odor at all.

If you detect any strange or off-putting smell coming from your eggplant, then it is likely past its prime and should be discarded.

Also, check out how to tell if butternut squash is bad or how to tell if bread is bad.

Sign Description
Appearance A fresh eggplant should have a glossy, dark purple skin with no wrinkles, discoloration, or bruises.
Texture A good eggplant should have a firm and slightly springy texture when lightly pressed. Mushy or overly soft texture indicates spoilage.
Smell Fresh eggplants have a mild, almost neutral scent. A sour or rotten smell indicates spoilage.
Shelf Life Whole eggplants can last up to 10 days when stored properly in a cool, dry place. Cut eggplants spoil more quickly, within 1-2 days.

What does a bad sliced eggplant look like?

Sliced eggplant that has gone bad will have dull, shriveled skin and may have black spots. When cut, the flesh may be brown and soft and may have a sour or bitter smell.

There may also be visible mold or strange odors. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard the eggplant as it could lead to stomach discomfort and food poisoning.

To learn about how to cut eggplant check out my post that does over step by step instructions for slicing and dicing.

What should a ripe eggplant look like?

When purchasing an eggplant, look for one with vibrant, shiny, taut, and wrinkle-free skin that is dark but vivid purple.

The eggplant should also feel heavy for its size and have a firm texture. Avoid any with blemishes, bruises, or discoloration on the skin, as well as those with brown or yellow skin, wrinkled skin, or soft spots.

The stem of the eggplant should be fresh and green, indicating that it was recently picked. Lastly, use your sense of smell to ensure that the eggplant does not have a strong odor, as this could indicate spoilage.

How to store eggplant to extend its shelf life?

Storing eggplant the right way can help you extend the shelf life of your eggplant. For the best results, store your eggplant at room temperature or in a cool, dry place such as your pantry.

Put your eggplant into a dry paper bag, in a basket, or plate before storing it, and don’t seal it using a vacuum sealer or place it into a plastic bag or airtight container.

Be sure to give the eggplant its own section in the pantry or on the countertop, as storing it near fruits such as bananas can cause it to overripe and spoil within a few hours.

For long-term storage, blanch the eggplant in boiling water, dry it, and store it in a vacuum-sealed bag. Learn the steps of how to freeze eggplant for longer storage.

If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can place the eggplant into a freezer-safe resealable bag, just make sure to press all of the air out of the eggplant before sealing and freezing it.

I have a whole post on how to store eggplant that goes into more detail.

Frequently asked questions about how to tell if eggplant is bad

If there are only a few small bad spots, you can carefully cut them out and use the remaining healthy part of the eggplant. However, if the spoilage is extensive, it’s best to discard the entire eggplant.

To prolong the freshness of eggplants, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Do not refrigerate them, as cold temperatures can damage their delicate skin and cause them to spoil faster.

Yes, it is usually safe to eat eggplant that is brown inside. However, it is important to inspect the eggplant for any signs of decay, such as softness or off-smell, before consuming.


In conclusion, knowing how to tell if an eggplant is bad is an essential skill for every home cook.

By paying attention to the color, texture, and smell, you can easily identify a spoiled eggplant and ensure you only use the best produce in your kitchen.

Keep these tips in mind and never worry about a subpar eggplant dish again.

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