Vine-ripened tomatoes are one of the best things about summer, but they spoil quickly. When you store your tomatoes at home, it’s important that you choose the proper method in order to preserve them for as long as possible. Here are some guidelines on how to store tomatoes so they stay fresh longer.
Tomatoes are a delicious, nutritious food that is easy to grow and maintain in the home garden.
When the warmer months come around, a lot of people find that they have more fresh produce than they can handle. This is especially true for those who garden and grow their own tomatoes or have an impulse to buy them at a farmers’ market during peak season.
There are many ways to store your bountiful harvest. One solution for long-term storage that may be perfect for urban dwellers is drying tomatoes in the oven. Canning tomatoes is another option. Another quick and easy choice is freezing them.
You can also make tomato jam with your green tomatoes.
But what about the storage method for the short term?
Fresh tomatoes are not meant to last long, especially in the summer when they’re ripe and delicious. If you don’t know how to properly store your fresh tomatoes for short-term use, then chances are that they will spoil before you can even enjoy them!
With the cooler temperatures and tomato season slowly storage winding down, it’s time to look at some options and helpful tips for storing fresh tomatoes so they stay fresh and good tasting for enjoyment until you’re ready to use them!
Storing tomatoes at home
When storing fresh tomatoes at home, the best flavor results from putting them in a cooler area with less moisture. Here’s how to store them depending upon how ripe they are.
Storing underripe whole tomatoes
To slow down the ripening process of green tomatoes, keep them indoors at room temperature. This will allow them to ripen gradually instead of quickly if left outside while still on the vine.
Unripe tomatoes will continue to ripen at room temperature as long as they’re given good air circulation. For best results, keep them out of direct sunlight.
Store them unwashed, stem side down on a flat surface, in a single layer without touching each other, until they reach your preferred ripeness.
At this point, if you are still not ready to consume them, move the tomatoes to a cool, dark place like the pantry or cupboard. The ideal range is 50˚F – 70˚F. Underripe tomatoes should last one week at this temperature.
Storage tip: A wine refrigerator can be set to higher temperatures than a regular fridge. This means that it can store your homegrown tomatoes at the ideal temperature of 60 degrees F. This will lengthen the shelf life and stay fresh much longer!
How to store ripe whole tomatoes
If you have fresh ripe tomatoes that you are unable to use immediately or are about to go bad, it is best to put them in the fridge.
Doing this slows down or even halts the ripening process and prevents your produce from going bad quickly.
Refrigerated tomatoes may lose some flavor so it is advisable to take them out and keep them on your counter for 24 hours before eating or cooking with them. This will help them regain some flavor lost during the refrigeration process.
Storing overripe whole tomatoes
If you have overripe tomatoes, they will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days, but try to use them as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, once your ripe fruit is soft, moldy or wrinkled, we recommend cutting it into small pieces and using the fruit as compost in your garden or bin. Save the seeds for new growth in the spring.
How to store cut tomatoes
Once you cut fresh tomatoes, place them cut side down, in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. It is best to refrigerate immediately after cutting in order to prevent spoilage by bacteria growing on the surface due to moisture buildup.
How can you make tomatoes ripen faster?
Tomatoes are best stored at room temperature, but sometimes they need a little help to ripen.
If you don’t have time to wait for them to ripen on their own or just want the tomatoes sooner than that, place under-ripened green fruit into a brown paper bag with other ethylene-producing fruits such as avocados or bananas. This will trap the ethylene gas they produce while ripening.
Avoid using a plastic bag as this can cause rot and mold growth on the fruit itself because there’s no air circulation inside the bag.
Be careful not to over-ripen your tomatoes because they can spoil quickly once ripe!
As you can see, it’s important to store your tomatoes in the best way possible if you want them to stay fresh and last as long as possible. Whether they’re under-ripe or ripe, at room temperature or in the fridge, you now know exactly how to store fresh tomaotes.
Hope you enjoy your garden bounty to the fullest!
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
And if you are new here, welcome! You may want to sign up for my weekly e-mail newsletter. You can unsubscribe any time you want.
Ciao for now,