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Old 07-07-2016, 07:42 PM   #1
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How do you store tomatoes?

I've read that it's best to store tomatoes at room temperature, but every time I've done that they go bad very quickly. Is it better to keep them in the fridge?

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Old 07-07-2016, 07:51 PM   #2
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We keep ours at too temperature in a "fruit" bowl. Refrigerator temperatures destroy major flavor components of the tomato. We have gotten into the habit of buying fewer tomatoes so they won't go bad.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:56 PM   #3
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We keep ours at too temperature in a "fruit" bowl. Refrigerator temperatures destroy major flavor components of the tomato. We have gotten into the habit of buying fewer tomatoes so they won't go bad.

Maybe I should do that. It's kind of a pain to have to make a lot of grocery store trips though.


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Old 07-07-2016, 08:04 PM   #4
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It's a trade-off. Plan your tomato meals for the days right after your shopping trip. Use other veggies later in the shopping week.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:09 PM   #5
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Fresh tomatoes, on the counter. Canning tomatoes frozen or cooked from fresh. Dehyrated tomatoes, cut and put the the dehydrator, from fresh but frozen is fine too.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:17 PM   #6
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Our approach to storing tomatoes is much like Andy's. We have a very, very deep kitchen windowsill that doesn't get direct sunlight, so that's where the tomatoes are kept. Usually in a broad basket but also directly on the wooden sill. Regardless whether they're in a basket or the sill, I always place them stem-side down. The seem to keep better that way.

Otherwise, if there is a large quantity such as the garden heavily producing, I make tomato sauce or freeze the tomatoes whole.

I rarely, very rarely, put tomatoes in the refrigerator because of what Andy mentioned about how refrigeration degrades them.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:17 PM   #7
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Another vote for room temperature. I keep them on a plate on the kitchen counter, I sure miss having a kitchen windowsill to set them on!

I have good luck with the tomatoes on the vine and look for a cluster with 4 or 5 tomatoes, I think the vine helps them last a little longer. If they begin to get ripe before I can use them fresh I make a small batch of stewed tomatoes. I core them, cut a small x on the bottom and dunk them in a pan of boiling water for a minute to loosen the skin, peel them and cut them into eighths, simmer them for about fifteen minutes with a couple of whole cloves, salt, pepper and a little sweetener. When they are finished cooking I add a small piece of butter. Stewed tomatoes are a good way to use up other vegetables. Toss in some chunks of zucchini, celery, onion, etc... and let them simmer with the tomatoes until tender.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:20 PM   #8
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Never store fresh toms in the fridge. The sugars go into something else and they end up tasting like mush.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:17 PM   #9
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Another vote for room temperature. I keep them on a plate on the kitchen counter, I sure miss having a kitchen windowsill to set them on!

I have good luck with the tomatoes on the vine and look for a cluster with 4 or 5 tomatoes, I think the vine helps them last a little longer. If they begin to get ripe before I can use them fresh I make a small batch of stewed tomatoes. I core them, cut a small x on the bottom and dunk them in a pan of boiling water for a minute to loosen the skin, peel them and cut them into eighths, simmer them for about fifteen minutes with a couple of whole cloves, salt, pepper and a little sweetener. When they are finished cooking I add a small piece of butter. Stewed tomatoes are a good way to use up other vegetables. Toss in some chunks of zucchini, celery, onion, etc... and let them simmer with the tomatoes until tender.
Sounds like everyone is favoring room temperature. Good thing I bought them on the vine. They are organic compari tomatoes. I added a couple of them to my chickpea salad tonight and they were delish.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:19 PM   #10
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The package of sun dried tomatoes I bought at Whole Foods says "refrigerate after opening." Would you all agree with that? Do sun dried tomatoes need to be stored differently?
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:36 PM   #11
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The package of sun dried tomatoes I bought at Whole Foods says "refrigerate after opening." Would you all agree with that? Do sun dried tomatoes need to be stored differently?

Yes, I would. I freeze mine. I dehydrate my home-grown toms, though I do have some in my spice cabinet that seem to still be good.
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:56 PM   #12
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Agreeing with the consensus, adding a couple more twists

NEVER in the fridge, of course, and I keep them in a bowl, but I get fruit-flies if I do that, so I also tightly cover the bowl with the plastic bag material that good bread comes in. The holes allow the tomatoes to breathe, while keeping the little buggers out. Make sure no tomatoes are touching the plastic, or the flies can get at them through the plastic.

But I also discovered a remarkable fact: grape (not cherry) tomatoes keep for 2 weeks or more, and if you neglect them, they simply shrivel up, (mostly) without going off. Wrinkly, half-dried tomatoes have supercharged flavour, and fully-dehydrated ones are a ringer for sun-dried.

To ensure that none go off while they're wrinkling, make sure air can circulate around them.
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Old 07-08-2016, 01:31 AM   #13
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Andy's advise is the best: never buy more than you can use quickly. However, as someone who does one main "shop" a week, I find that impractical. Sadly, I'm not picking just-ripe tomatoes off of my own vine either. However, the NEVER in the refrigerator advise has been blasted out of the water by a series of non-scientific tests by the folks over at "Serious Eats". There are two previous articles to this one, both with links posted in the first paragraph.

The articles basically say that once your tomato reaches a ripe state, put it into the refrigerator. Then when you are about ready to eat it, remove it from said refrigerator and set on the counter until it reaches room temperature. After that, it is hard to determine if it sat in a fridge or not. I'm figuring that if you're using that tomato in a BLT, who cares? Admit it, all you really want to taste is the bacon. The tomato and lettuce are there to give you the idea that you're eating a nutritionally balanced meal in spite of the 1/2 pound of smoked hog goodness.

We do go through tomatoes quickly, so I haven't bothered with doing my own test yet. I hope to get on it this summer as the tomatoes come into the farmers' market.
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Old 07-08-2016, 01:33 AM   #14
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Thanks for saving me the trouble of looking up those articles, CG
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Old 07-08-2016, 01:39 AM   #15
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No prob, GG. Along with jennyema and a few others here, we definitely are card-carrying members of the "I love Kenji" fan club!
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:34 AM   #16
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I've read that it's best to store tomatoes at room temperature, but every time I've done that they go bad very quickly. Is it better to keep them in the fridge?
Since I first came across this info a few years ago I've kept my tomatoes in a single level in an large-ish open bowl on the work surface in the kitchen. If I've bought them in plastic packaging I remove this as they seem to go soggy quickly if left in it. In the open air they last for ages but in the 'fridge they go mouldy.

Obviously in the UK we don't have very hot weather so it may be different where you are but all my kitchen work surfaces are below large windows facing east and west so are subject to sunshine when we get any but this doesn't seem to upset the tomatoes and our winter cold weather is never very cold so ditto.

Off at a tangent - the flavour is better when they aren't kept in the 'fridge - assuming you are fairly selective when chosing them.
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:36 AM   #17
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The package of sun dried tomatoes I bought at Whole Foods says "refrigerate after opening." Would you all agree with that? Do sun dried tomatoes need to be stored differently?
Now that's odd. All the pre-packed tomatoes I've been buying have advised against refridgerating the contents. Off course it could be a matter of the ambient temperature where you are.
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:47 AM   #18
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On more than one occasion, I have come across articles that have said if you put your tomatoes upside stem down on the counter top, they will last longer. I buy about four at a time on the vine and will some skill, have tried this trick. All I can say, is that it works for me. The tomatoes stay fresh for more than a week. And like any food that grows on a vine, sooner or later they want to drop off. And so do the tomatoes. If I go to pick one off the vine, I find it just sitting there on the counter and disconnected from the vine.

So one time when I bought them on the vine, I took them off when I got them home. Stored them on the counter stem side down. Stayed fresh and useful for a couple of weeks when I finally used the last one.

I have also read that once you put a tomato in the fridge, it stops ripening. Since I don't buy green tomatoes, I am not concerned with this problem.
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Old 07-11-2016, 08:24 PM   #19
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Thanks for the article CG! How do you tell if a tomato has gone bad versus being a little wrinkly?


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Old 07-11-2016, 08:47 PM   #20
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Thanks for the article CG! How do you tell if a tomato has gone bad versus being a little wrinkly?


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An over ripe tomato hasn't gone "bad" in the sense it's unsafe to eat.
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