Real Food

Storing Tomatoes and Keeping Them Fresh Longer

September 7, 2013

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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. Nothing tastes quite like a tomato you’ve picked from the garden right in your backyard. Store-bought varieties never taste as good. 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?

Many people make the mistake of storing their tomatoes in the refrigerator. Don’t do that! Tomatoes are very fragile and the extreme cold actually breaks down the fragile membranes inside tomatoes. This causes them to lose flavor and have an unpleasant “grainy” texture. And who wants that? I know I don’t!

The best way to store tomatoes is…

To keep tomatoes fresh the longest, keep them on your counter at room temperature. This extends their freshness and keeps them from becoming moldy too quickly. Pull off any stem and store them upside down on the side where the stem was attached. Experts believe that mold grows in that area of the tomato. And so preventing air from having access slows down the rotting process.

But what if you bought a bunch of tomatoes and you don’t want to have them covering your counter? Well, you 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.

What about storing tomatoes that have already been cut?

Do you frequently find yourself with leftover tomatoes? Choose a smaller tomato that can be used completely on 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. These are airtight 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!

Want some ideas to help you use up some of those fresh tomatoes more quickly? Check out these!

Spinach and Tomato Pasta

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Garlic Butter Zoodles

Fresh Homemade Salsa

Greek Burger

  • Reply
    Eileen - Wellness and Workouts
    September 19, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I knew to leave them on my counters, but I learned a lot of new info from this post. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Katmill
      September 21, 2013 at 1:44 am

      So glad this article gave you some new info! Now you’ll be able to enjoy those amazing garden fresh tomatoes even longer! 🙂

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