Cooking Basics

How do you store tomatoes

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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ripe red tomato
Enjoy tomatoes while they are at their best
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How do you store tomatoes for maximum flavor and beautiful ripe coloring?

You return home from the market and head right to the fridge, right? Refrigerating most produce helps it stay fresh longer, but this is not the case with tomatoes. Tomatoes are extremely delicate, which means they shouldn’t be kept in the fridge at all.

Cold temperatures damage the membranes in tomatoes, making them lose flavor and take on that bitty texture nobody enjoys. So how do you store tomatoes? Read on so yours will taste as good as possible in the future, enhancing every meal you cook at home.

Hello, counter top

Gently place your store-bought or homegrown ripe tomatoes in a colorful kitchen bowl and keep it on the counter top. If you don’t have room, move an appliance. Room temperature is ideal, plus putting produce on casual display brightens up the kitchen.

Always remove them from packaging as soon as you bring them back from the store. Pick homegrown beauties when they are just ripe, and gently wipe off any dirt -- don't wash them! Line the bottom of the bowl or basket with a paper towel. Position them so the stems are on top because that's the most sensitive part.

It’s not too late for tomatoes you’ve already refrigerated. Place those on the counter, too, and some of the flavor can be re-stored.



For short periods of time

As convenient as it is to grocery shop once for the whole week, tomatoes want to be eaten right away or within 2-3 days. Wait to shop for Friday’s tomato dish until the end of the week, or cook it and freeze it. Keep the oldest tomatoes on top of the basket. This is yet another reason to keep them in plain view as they’re too easy to forget when out of sight.

Note that vine-ripened tomatoes often keep for up to 5 days as they’ve been bred to have an extended storage life. The same holds true for cherry and Roma ones.

Window sill – for the unripe

Fruits that are already ripe will soon be over ripe if placed on the window sill. Take a close look, and if it feels too firm, place it on the window ledge for a day as this will help it ripen.

How do you store tomatoes in a hot kitchen

Peak tomato season is summer. The unpleasant fact is that many kitchens rise well over the desired room temperature for tomatoes. If your kitchen gets too steamy, place them in a shady spot so they stay cooler.

A nice cool cellar is ideal, but a dark corner in a pantry or cabinet is better than a steamy counter. An important thing to remember is that consistent temperature is key. This means that once they’re in a spot, keep them there until you use them. Moving them near a stove or microwave will increase the surrounding temperature noticeably.

Containers

The best storage containers offer ventilation and ridges so moisture cannot touch the delicate skin. Make it a point to lift and move them around a bit every day. If they’re still for too long, they’ll get bruises that will lead to rotting.

Fresh Markets V.S. Stores

In addition to supporting local farmers, purchasing tomatoes at the farmers market ensures you that they weren’t refrigerated. On the other hand, most grocery stores refrigerate them, and receive them from refrigerated trucks. The odds of a fruit from the store tasting better than one from a farmers market are very slim.

If you don’t buy them organic, wash them with cool water before eating them. For about 20 minutes, soak them in a solution of water with ½ cup vinegar and a tablespoon of salt to remove pesticides.

Knowing how do you store tomatoes will allow you to enjoy the fruits of the season at their peak. Many people aren't aware of how badly refrigeration affects the flavor, so spread the knowledge and you’ll also spread deliciousness.

References:

Storing Fresh

University of California: Tomatoes


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