Many people have varied beliefs on ways to store tomatoes, but everyone wants the same outcome: sweet, tart, and fresh tomatoes to eat and cook with for as long as possible. Whether tomatoes are needed for a bright, zippy gazpacho or a hearty, slow-cooked tomato sauce, or to be eaten like cherries, it is important to know how to properly store them so that the tomatoes taste great.
Tomatoes are stored differently based on whether they are ripe or not. Unripe tomatoes are best stored on the counter for a few days until they ripen. The tomatoes ripen when they are fragrant and have a more tender feel. Once the tomatoes are ripe, it can either be consumed or stored in the refrigerator to preserve their freshness so they do not go bad. A ripe tomato stored in the refrigerator can remain fresh for about two weeks.
Contrary to the opinion that tomatoes should not be stored in the refrigerator. It is paramount to refrigerate tomatoes in consideration of their ripeness. Refrigeration basically interrupts the ripening process in order to avoid the tomato becoming mealy, bland, and unripe.
When unripe tomatoes are kept in the refrigerator, they maintain their flavour and remain as they could be. If you happen to come across perfectly ripe tomatoes and you are not ready to consume it, then the tomatoes should go into the refrigerator.
Accordingly, overripe tomatoes should be refrigerated to slow their spoiling process. It is advisable to use squishy, overripe tomatoes for tomato sauces, relishes, chutneys, and other recipes. Also, tomatoes should be left at room temperature no matter what before eating because tomatoes at room temperature have the best flavor.
Regarding how to store sliced tomatoes, it is recommended to keep them fresher for a long time by simply covering the cut side with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap has to tightly cover the cut side and loosely cover the uncut side of the tomato because the skin protects the flesh of the tomato.
After covering the tomato, the cut side can be placed side down on a plate before storing in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, sliced tomatoes can only stay fresh for a few days even after storing in a fridge.
Tomatoes can be frozen like other frozen fruits. Frozen tomatoes can come in handy during winter when craving the sweetness of summer tomatoes. So if there is a bounty of ripe tomatoes, all tomatoes would not be used. Then rinse the tomatoes, remove their stems, and freeze them in a freezer-proof container or zip lock bag.
Then, when you need to eat the tomatoes, you can quickly put the frozen tomatoes in a bowl of tepid water. After a few minutes in the water, you can peel off the skins easily, and when it comes to frozen tomatoes, it is preferable to reserve them for cooked dishes like a tomato-based pasta sauce.