Storing Tomatoes The Right Way

When you’ve grown and harvested a bumper crop of delicious, juicy tomatoes it really is worth storing them correctly. Storing tomatoes the wrong way could lead to them losing flavour, over ripening or getting attacked by fungus and ruining all your hard work.

Temperature

If your tomatoes are not yet fully ripened store them at room temperature, but make sure to keep them away from direct sunlight. If you want to slow the ripening process, store them in a cooler place. And if you want your tomatoes to ripen quicker a trick is to place them in a paper bag with a banana or an apple, which doubles the ripening process.

Once tomatoes fully ripen, which you can tell by the full color emerging and the firmness beginning to turn soft. Those that you don’t want to eat right away, you should store in a cool place, but not refrigerated.

Most varieties of tomato will keep for 4 to 7 days this way. Once you have cut them put them straight in the refrigerator and you have one or two more days maximum to eat them.

Spacing

If possible store tomatoes spaces apart from each other, so any fungi that might appear will not instantly spread to rot the other fruits.

Storing  Unripe Tomatoes

Sometimes frost or something may force you to pick unripe tomatoes, not even near ripening yet. The best way to salvage these tomatoes is to put them in a cool, dark place arranged in a single layer. Keep looking for specks of fungus, or holes or cracks in the skin and get rid of any that look dodgy straight away.

The ones that survive will often ripen into decent, tasty fruits to join the rest of your crop. Perfectly edible although they’ll never be the juiciest of specimens.

Storing Tomatoes Long Term – for Winter

The only way to store tomatoes long term, for winter is with canning or freezing. Your home grown tomatoes will always be the very best when eaten fresh. But great home-grown tomatoes that are stored the right way can make a delicious winter-time feast. A taste of summer in the cold months.

You should store them in some sterilized glass jars. The first step is to remove the skins, which is best done with a process of boiling the tomatoes in water until the skin splits, then instantly putting them in a pot of cold water. Peel and take out the core, all seeds, and put as many as you can squash into each jar, adding a teaspoon of salt and some boiling water on top to finish up.

The jars need to be completely air-tight sealed and have no air bubbles inside. Once ready, put the lid on and seal, using a two-piece seal ring to make it airtight. The final step is to place the jars in boiling water for 30 minutes, and afterwards take them out and see if the lid has a slight indentation in it – if it does it has sealed properly and can be stored in a cool dark place like your basement. If not, then keep it in the freezer.

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