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5 "How To" Tips for Storing Tomatoes to Maintain their Flavor and Nutritional Value
Do you want to get the best flavor from the tomatoes that you just purchased (or picked from your garden)? Most people do and yet many people make huge mistakes when it comes to storing their fresh tomatoes. If you don't store a tomato properly, it rapidly loses its taste. It may also lose some of its best nutritional value. Don't waste a perfectly good tomato by failing to store it right!
Follow these five tips for properly storing tomatoes to retain their flavor and health benefits:
- Skip the refrigerator ... unless you have already cut your tomatoes. So many people store their tomatoes in the refrigerator which is the biggest mistake that you can make. This quickly leeches the flavor of this great fruit. You want to leave your fresh tomatoes out of the fridge. The only exemption to this is if you have already cut your tomatoes. Ideally, you shouldn't cut tomatoes until you're ready to use them. However, there may be times when you pre-cut tomatoes or have cut tomatoes left over from a recipe. In that case, do store the cut tomatoes in the fridge but use them as soon as possible since they're going to start losing flavor in there right away.
- Make sure you get the right temperature for your tomatoes. You want to store tomatoes in an area that is cool but not cold. Temperatures as cold as your refrigerator are too cold for your tomatoes. However, your summertime counter may be too warm. Aim to store your tomatoes in 55-60 degree temperatures if possible. Cool kitchens, away from stovetops and heat-generating devices like the fridge - may be an option. Clean, moisture-free basements may be another option.
- Take away the light if the tomatoes still need to ripen. If you have tomatoes that you want to use but they aren't ripe yet then all that you need to do is take away their light source. Put them inside of a brown paper bag and store the bag on your kitchen counter, away from heat-generating appliances like the stove. After a day or two, the tomatoes should be ready to use.
- Store them with bananas ... but only if they aren't ripe yet. You can store tomatoes in the same bag as bananas at room temperature. If they aren't yet ripe, this will cause your tomatoes to ripen and be ready for use. If you don't want to use your tomatoes right away, keep them away from bananas in storage. Also keep them away from apples as they will have the same effect.
- The option of freezing tomatoes. It is possible to freeze your tomatoes if you aren't going to use them right away. Just stick them in the freezer whole. When you are ready to use them, run them under cold water to thaw them. You may not get the most nutritional value out of frozen tomatoes, as compared to ones that you used fresh, but it's certainly better than wasting your tomatoes.