Tomatoes are delicious. So, if you are lucky enough to have green fingers and enjoy growing your own or you frequently visit your local farmers market to pick up the freshest produce, you undoubtedly recognize the succulent flavor of a fresh tomato. Honied, juicy, and appetizingly plump, it is important to learn exactly how to keep your tomatoes fresh so that you can preserve the texture and flavor of the tomato.
Wash Your Tomatoes
Wherever you get your tomatoes from, you will want to make sure that they are nice and clean before you eat them. However, this can affect your tomato when you come to storing it. To make sure that the freshness of your beautiful tomatoes lasts, it is recommended that you delay washing and cleaning your tomatoes until you are ready to prepare them for eating.
Tomatoes must not be washed previous to storing them as additional moisture will hasten the growth of any kind of mold. This is really not what you need to find when you are cutting up your next tomato for a flavor filled recipe. Only when you are organized enough to prepare them, rinse them underneath cool running water over the the sink and scrub with a damp towel to eliminate any surplus dirt.
Storing Tomatoes in the Refrigerator
This is almost never recommended unless your tomatoes are completely ripe. Chilling your tomatoes in a refrigerator stops the tomato from ripening straight away, so if your tomatoes are still not at their utter peak of ripeness, then you will never end up getting a really ripe tomato. But if you do have flawlessly ripe tomatoes which you do not have time to cook into a meal in the moment then it is the only practical solution that you have to store them in a fridge. A healthily ripe tomato will last a couple of days in the refrigerator without causing you any harm.
Never leave your tomatoes to cool in the refrigerator for longer than a few days. This is because chilled tomatoes will usually begin to dehydrate, meaning you can say goodbye to your next juicy tomato slice. Likewise, the flesh of a tomato which has spent too long in the refrigerator will get all mushy. With all this being said, you had better at all times eat tomatoes at room temperature for ideal flavor and tomatoey texture. If you have had them in the refrigerator, take your tomatoes our and allow them warm up slightly to room temperature before using in a dish or putting them in a sandwich.
Store Tomatoes at Room Temperature
Put very simply, it is strongly recommended that you store your tomatoes at room temperature. You will need to place them on a tray in a single layer, leaving them uncovered with some space in between then, and keep them away from any direct sunlight. Storing your tomatoes in a single layer is vital to assist them to last so much longer. Just try to evade stacking them up on top of one another.
Many of us have been guilty of piling up fresh tomatoes in a single bowl after hurrying home from the store, but we end up forgetting to store them appropriately afterwards.
Tomatoes can look extremely attractive sitting there in a bowl on the counter but the consequences of doing this can mean that you spoil all of your produce. If tomatoes are all packed up together, this means that the airflow around them is strictly limited. This is not great as tomatoes are extremely delicate fruits, particularly when ripe, so they bruise easily if they are left against one another. This not only crushes your prized tomatoes, but also will hasten the ripening process and then quicken the onset of the growth of bacteria and mold.
Your kitchen countertop is the ideal place to store your tomatoes at room temperature. The airy and openness of your counter will give your tomatoes just the right amount of air contact. And you have the additional advantage that all of those different varieties of tomatoes will look beautiful sitting out on your countertop.
How to Store Unripe Tomatoes
You already know that you need to skip putting tomatoes in the fridge if they are not quite ripe, you need to store them at room temperature in your kitchen instead. Now, while it might look pretty to put your beautiful tomatoes on a windowsill, you will be better off storing your unripe tomatoes in your darkened basement or in a clean dark cupboard. This is because you will wish that your tomatoes continue to ripen if they are still a little green after being picked, but where you do not wish them to ripen so quickly in natural light that they go on to spoil.
Again, you will also want to keep unripe tomatoes stored in a single layer so that the weight of individual tomatoes do not crush their neighbouring tomatoes. If you do discover one in the bunch that has become a little smashed, then you should try and use it up before it leads to the other tomatoes to rot. Affective air movement is also vital when it comes to preserving the freshness of your tomatoes.
Use a plate to store unripe tomatoes which permits air to move around them, giving them to some extent a longer life. Store your tomatoes with their stems down to help stop and moisture from absconding through the tomatoes stem. When you do this it also helps to avoid any bacterial growth around the tomato stem.
Ripening You Tomatoes
When you need to fast-ripen your green tomatoes, then you can simply pop them into a paper bag with a ripe banana. Bananas release a gas called ethylene, which is a natural ripening chemical which will have a big impact on your green tomatoes. Most of us at one time or another have bought season-end green tomatoes and end up being unsure of how to treat them. There is a dividing line as to whether you can use a green tomato. If a tomato is light green in color and feels a little soft, then you might still be able to make some strides in helping it to ripen it. However, when a tomato is very hard and dark green then it might be too undeveloped to ripen. If fact green tomatoes are frequently not even ripe enough to be used in your fried-green tomato recipes as they will be too tough.
Can You Freeze Tomatoes
Unripe tomatoes should not be kept in the freezer as it is not a great place for storing those that are not ripe. These tomatoes are best stored on your kitchen countertop. If you do have a portion of ripe tomatoes that you know you will not be going to be able use for a while, then you can definitely freeze them. To freeze your tomatoes, first, wash them and ensure that they are dry. Place them separately on a baking sheet, before placing them into your freezer. As soon as your tomatoes are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container.
Since the freezing process damages the tomatoes cells, they will be fairly soft after they have been thawed. This means that they you will use them to cook with rather than eating them as if they were fresh. Though, the freezing method does relax the tomatoes skin which make them really easy to peel.
Drying Tomatoes to Store
Dried tomatoes really do not have to be sun-dried to be flavoursome. The minute you removed all the water from the tomato, what you are left with is jam-packed full of flavor. Just slowly dry sliced tomatoes in your oven and after they seem dry, you can use them anytime in recipes. All you will need to dry your tomatoes out is some time, and patience. A few pounds of tomatoes will give you about a couple of cups of dried tomatoes which need to be stored in an airtight bag away from direct sunlight.
When Tomatoes Have Gone Bad
There are a number of things that you need to look out for if you suspect that your tomato has gone bad:
- Appearance – the most dependable sign of whether a tomato has spoilt is mold which will look like green or black spots on the surface of your tomato, on top of a fuzzier white type of fluff.
- If the tomatoes skin displays sign of wrinkling, then it has likewise gone bad.
- Tomatoes which have spoilt also have a tendency to leak fluid.
- Texture – if a tomato is mushy when you give it a gentle squeeze, then your tomato has gone bad.
- Smell – if you discover that a tomato is creating a bitter smell, then it has probably gone bad.
There is so much going for a red and ripe tomato, so it is no wonder that they are a favorite of foodies everywhere. Whether you grow your own tomatoes or buy them from the store they are a welcome addition to table.