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Tips to stretch the shelf life of tomatoes

Updated on January 23, 2015

Making the most use of tomatoes

Lets talk of tomatoes in the home. If you have a problem making extended use of them because they rapidly ripened and decayed, the solution is so simple, simply sell them while still robust, give some to the neighbors and keep enough for home use. Of those left and intended for the house, try to do something to slow down their ripening to serve you for at least 3 weeks. It is common knowledge that tomatoes and other fruits as well soften and decay after undergoing the process of ripening for a period of time. It's not surprising because it's their nature. Like other fruits, tomatoes follow the natural cycle of life and death.

Lessen the ripening effect of ethylene gas

However, we can slow down their ripening to suit our purpose. Tomatoes in themselves produce ethylene gas. It is this invisible element that speeds ripening in them, including bananas, mangoes, guavas, etc., especially if they are stack in groups or clusters. So we must think of ways to lessen the ripening effect of ethylene gas in them. Although we can't totally get rid of the ethylene in tomatoes, we can at the most minimize their ripening effect so that their shelf life without sacrificing their qualities will be extended. This means lengthening their state of usability before they are discarded into the garbage bin as waste.

Procedure

Heres how to do it: 1) Separate each tomato individually with a scissors, taking extra care that their crowns are intact. Then wrap each one neatly in a newspaper. The paper wrapper prevents the buildup of ethylene gas which speed up ripening process, from affecting the tomatoes. 2) Stack wrapped tomatoes in 2 layers deep in a container then store container in a 55 degree F temperature. Increasing the temperature will hasten ripening and lowering the same, lowers their quality. 3) Visit to check the tomatoes weekly. Remove or use fully ripened ones in the kitchen. Removing or using fully ripened tomatoes prevents the ethylene from affecting other stored tomatoes.

Putting tomatoes in the refrigerator is not advised. If you'll do so, they'll taste poorly like those sold at the supermarket. Whereas if you prefer to preserve their wonderful sweetness of natural sugar and acidity, store them always at room temperature.

Miscellaneous facts about tomatoes

Though considered a vegetable, Tomato is a fruit of the nightshade family. It is believed to be first cultivated in Peru but originally came from South and Central America, then were brought to Mexico about 1000 BCE. The Europeans believed the tomatoes were poisonous; not until the end of the 19th century did tomatoes become popular. Now they are grown universally and have become a staple food practically of all races and cuisines Tomatoes are cooked in casseroles, stews, soups and sauces; they are pressed for their juices; they are fried and pickled and eaten raw in salads.

Tomatoes are eaten the world over. They are believed to have beneficial effect to the heart. They contain lycopene, a natural antioxidant which has been found to help prevent prostate cancer, especially in cooked tomatoes, according to some studies. Lycopene can also improve the skin's ability to protect against harmful Ultra Violet rays. Researchers revealed that tomato can protect against sunburn and keep the skin looks youthful. Tomato consumption has likewise been associated with decreased risk of neck, head and breast cancers.

Tomato and its by-products are the richest source of lycopene,

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