Summer brings with it a bounty of fresh tomatoes of all different varieties. And there is nothing as flavorful as a tomato picked fresh off of the vine. I’ve seen a lot of my fellow food bloggers talking about making salsa and homemade tomato sauce for canning or fermenting. But how do you keep those fresh tomatoes from turning into a moldy mushy mess? What is the best way for storing tomatoes?
First of all, don’t store tomatoes in the refrigerator! Tomatoes are very fragile and the extreme cold actually works to break down the fragile membranes inside tomatoes. This results in the fruit losing flavor and having an unpleasant “grainy” texture. And who wants that? I know I don’t!
The best way to store tomatoes is on your counter at room temperature. And the best way to extend their freshness and keep them from becoming moldy too quickly is to store them upside down. That is the side where the stem was attached. The belief is that mold begins at that area of the tomato. And so by preventing air from having access, it slows down the rotting process.
What if you have a bunch of tomatoes and you don’t want to have them covering your counter? Well, you can actually achieve the same benefits by taping over the stem end. That will prevent air from accessing that end, and you can then store your tomatoes in a bowl….and not spread out.
So what can you do to keep a cut tomato fresh longer? Many people are tempted to place a cut tomato in the fridge. But you will just end up with a flavorless, grainy tomato! Storing it on the counter with the cut side down is also not a good idea, because it is far too easy for the tomato to be exposed to bacteria like salmonella.
If you frequently find yourself with leftover tomatoes, you may want to opt for a smaller tomato that can be used completely in the same day. Smaller varieties such as Roma tomatoes and vine ripened tomatoes are smaller. They can be used more quickly and are just as flavorful as larger tomato varieties. There are some heirloom tomatoes that are smaller as well and can suit your needs and cut back on tomato waste.
Or you could purchase an inexpensive tomato saver like this one (affiliate link). These are air tight do help to keep your sliced tomatoes fresh a little longer and prevent exposure to nasty germs!
So enjoy those summer fresh tomatoes, especially now that you know how to keep them fresh longer!
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