Eggplants are immature fruit. If left on the plant too long the seeds harden and darken and the flesh becomes spongy. Eggplant cultivars vary widely in colour, shape and size. Both cultivar and the production environment (field or greenhouse) strongly affect storage characteristics.

All eggplants have a smooth, glossy skin with no stomata or lenticels. This makes them relatively resistant to moisture loss. However, only a small amount of dehydration can result in noticeable softening, reducing quality.

Eggplants are chilling sensitive, with maximum storage life generally between 8–12°C. Chilling damage symptoms include the appearance of light brown patches over the skin, sunken pits in the flesh, increased disease and darkening of the flesh and seeds.