Eggplant can be a polarizing vegetable: Some people crave meaty grilled slabs of the vegetable, relishing in the crunchy exterior and creamy center of fried cubes. However, eggplant detractors complain of bland, bitter and seedy specimens. If you're a fan, bring your friends and family over to your side by ensuring you serve the freshest eggplant possible.
Signs of Spoilage
You can tell an eggplant is no longer at its prime when the skin becomes dimpled or wrinkled, especially up by the calyx, which is the point at the top from which the stem and leaves grow. Soft, brown spots and a dried-out, dark stem are other indications that an eggplant is near spoiling. Avoid large fruits that feel soft and squishy.
Go for Immaturity
An unpleasant flavor or texture isn't necessarily a sign of spoilage. An overly mature eggplant can taste bitter and have a rubbery texture even if freshly picked. At the store or farmers market, squeeze the eggplant; it should feel pleasantly firm -- not spongy or rock hard. Small eggplants tend to be sweeter than the large, mature ones.
Store It Right
To prevent your eggplant from spoiling prematurely, store it in optimal conditions. If you plan to use your eggplant in a day or two, keep it at room temperature. Chilling an eggplant can cause the flesh to darken and deteriorate. If you have to wait to use the fruit, refrigerate it for no more than three or four days.
Salt Eggplant to Reduce Bitterness
Salting eggplant is supposed to help reduce any bitter flavors and can make what might seem like a spoiled eggplant tasty again. If you do end up with an overly mature fruit, cut it into slices or chunks, place it into a colander and sprinkle liberally with coarse salt. Allow it to sit for several hours. Rinse and pat dry before using.