Cut ripe eggplant from the vine when the fruit is still glossy before turning dull or brown. Test ripeness by gently pressing it to see that the flesh gives and bounces back. Over-mature eggplant has a spongy texture and may be more bitter in taste.
Should be eaten soon after picking. Can be kept cool or refrigerated but does not store well.
Eggplant grows from a type of nightshade plant whose flowers are not poisonous. The fruit is glossy dark purple-black in color and can be oval or long in shape. The flesh is white in color with a meaty texture and edible soft seeds. The fruit is normally cooked before eating because it has a bitter taste when eaten raw (University of Illinois Extension, 2013).