- Store at the right temperature
- Ripen in a paper bag or in sunlight
- Try the apple trick
- Separate from other vegetables
- Cook to store
After harvesting it’s just a question of time before vegetables have used up their limited supply of water and nutrients. What you’re aiming towards when storing is to slow down the living processes and limiting the vegetable’s desire to grow. Tomatoes have often been harvested early and need to ripen before you stop them developing.
During the cold part of the year most tomatoes will have been picked long before they are ripe so they can withstand the journey. After being transported they are exposed to ethylene gas to encourage the development of the red color. In your kitchen these tomatoes will continue to ripen in their bowl, but they will also develop a slightly musty flavor. Tomatoes on the vine – as long as they’re still on the vine and the vine is fresh – ripen slightly better.
You can minimize attacks from microbes and extend the lifetime of the tomatoes a bit by putting them with the delicate point where they connect to the vine facing downwards.
Fridge = pause button
Don’t store tomatoes in the fridge. On the other hand, you can use the fridge as a “pause button” if you have tomatoes that are ripening more quickly than you can use them. And you’ll also get rid of fruit flies, if it’s the season for them.
Right temperature in a paper bag
One way of quickly ripening tomatoes is to store them in a temperate place and put them in a paper bag so that their own gas, ethylene, has more of an effect.
Store in a warm place
Better out in a warm kitchen than in a compartment in the fridge. Unripe tomatoes can even be put on a windowsill so they are exposed to direct sunlight, roughly like in a greenhouse.
Ripen in sunlight
Tomatoes in the shops – especially in colder times of the year – have been picked so early that they haven’t had a chance to get red and ripen in the sun. Exposing already picked tomatoes to sunlight makes things a bit better at least.
Even riper with apples
Put a ripe apple near to tomatoes if you want to speed up the ripening process even more.
Separate from other vegetables
Tomatoes – like apples (see above) – affect vegetables in their surroundings. Store them separately.
Cook to store
Tomato pasta, dried tomatoes, pickled tomatoes, etc. are different ways of storing tomatoes by cooking them (to some extent or another). If you’re curious about these ways of cooking tomatoes, try making them yourself. Use prime ingredients and you’ll get fantastic natural flavors to work with.
Peeled tomatoes freeze well. Instead of using tinned tomatoes in the winter for stews, soups and sauces, use a summer glut to build up a cheap, flavor-packed stock of frozen tomatoes.