What you see: A big scar on your eggplant
What it is: A healed injury
Eat or toss? Eat! Cut off the scar if you’re worried about texture, but this is only the sign of a plant that successfully healed itself and staved off any problematic infection
This is a fairy tale eggplant, so named, we assume, for its whimsical stripes. But whatever befell this future baba ganouj, could happen to any type of eggplant. So, let's start at the beginning.
Once upon a time, this eggplant was a wee little fruit, hanging off a stem. Back then, it probably had a rough interaction. Perhaps a bug nibbled its delicate baby eggplant tissue. Or maybe it was jammed against a branch. (Don't you just hate when that happens?)
In any event, that injury was small when the eggplant was small, and it successfully healed. But the resulting scar grew with the fruit, getting bigger and bigger as the eggplant got closer to harvest time.
Like us, plants can heal their wounds; but unlike us they can’t form scabs to reveal pristine new tissue underneath. So, they repair their wounds and just live with the scars.
The good news is that we can live with their scars too. A clean, dry scar means the produce healed without incident. Even cuts and scratches that happen after the eggplant has been picked can heal during the journey to the store.
A scarred area as big as this one might be tough to chew, so you may want to cut it off for texture reasons. If an injury looks fresh, however, you’ll want to inspect for any signs of invading mold or microbes (fuzzy mold or squishy, rotting flesh) before deciding to eat.
And, hopefully, dinner can proceed as planned and everyone can eat happily ever after.
Chris Gunter. Vegetable Production Specialist and Associate Professor. North Carolina State University.
Waste Free Kitchen Handbook. Dana Gunders. “Scarring.” p. 87
Repair your wounds and live with the scars, said the Wise Eggplant