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The eggplant in my garden was doing very well up until a hard frost a couple of days ago (it's late December, and this was inevitable). Some of the plants died and I picked the eggplant.

I have several variety of eggplant, but they are all rather hard. Will they ripen indoors? And, would it be possible for me to use them in eggplant parmesan before they are fully ripe?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

let them sit in a sunny window with southern exposure until they get a little soft. Then put them in a paper bag for a couple of days and they should be edible

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Thanks, Kathy. I'll give it a try. –  Cary Jensen Dec 30 '10 at 1:25
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It worked. The eggplant did ripen. However, those that had even small bruses began to rot. When preparing, I cut out the rotting part, and the rest of the eggplant was fine. –  Cary Jensen Jan 5 '11 at 17:13

Did some looking around, which you have probably done also, and noted that there was no definitive answer. An unripe eggplant is going to be hard and have more solarine which apparently some people react to.

However, since eggplant is a nightshade and some other nightshades ripen on the counter (think tomatoes) I would try leaving it out for a few days. The frost might have killed that possibility but maybe not.

Worst case, I would peel it, cube it and add it into a tomato based soup...say a minestrone or other vegetable soup, where it can either break down or, if it doesn't, provide a little texture without being the lead ingredient. If you use it in eggplant parmesan and it is tough, the dish will be inedible. If you use it in a vegetable stew, chewiness won't kill the whole dish.

Or you could cut it in half, rub olive oil on it and roast it in the oven. If it softens, use it in baba ganoush or in ratatouille. If it doesn't, feed it to the chickens.

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Doug: I think your intuition is correct that it can ripen. Your suggestions for use are excellent, though I might have to go out and find some chickens :) However, I am going to accept Kathy's answer, with respect to the ripening, since she replied first (and could use some reputation points for encouragement). –  Cary Jensen Dec 30 '10 at 1:21
    
Not a problem on the answer. I'm here for the fun, doncha know? I've gotten plenty of good info from you in the past...just on programming. –  Doug Johnson-Cookloose Dec 30 '10 at 20:13

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