It’s frustrating to watch your hard-earned tomatoes go bad before you can eat them. But our guide teaches you how to store tomatoes correctly to keep them fresh and delicious all season long.
Tomatoes are a versatile food. You can use them to make soups, salads, sauces, and many other types of meals since they work well in most cuisines. Besides, these vegetables are packed with antioxidants that protect your health. So it’s no wonder why tomatoes are so popular worldwide.
Everyone knows that the best way to eat a tomato is right when it becomes ripe. However, that’s not always possible. Keep reading to discover how to store tomatoes the correct way in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer.
But first, let’s find out the numerous health benefits of this amazing vegetable.
Tomato Health Benefits
Studies have shown that tomatoes may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer. They also provide some antioxidant benefits since they are a good source of selenium.
Another study has demonstrated how tomatoes contribute to decreasing the risk for type-2 diabetes by reducing insulin resistance. It’s all thanks to β-carotene, flavonoids, vitamin C, lycopene, vitamin E, folate, and potassium.
Additionally, lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. Meanwhile, vitamin C boosts your immunity, and vitamin A improves your vision.
How to Store Tomatoes
Check out the following tips to discover the best ways to store tomatoes:
- After purchasing tomatoes, keep them in a cool and dry place.
- You can store ripe tomatoes in the fridge to prolong their life.
- Tomatoes can last up to 10 days when refrigerated properly.
- Don’t wash your tomatoes before refrigerating them, as water encourages spoilage.
- If you want to cut your tomatoes before storing them, sprinkle some salt on the surface of the fruit. This will prevent them from oxidizing and turning brown.
- Try to avoid storing tomatoes in the fridge’s vegetable drawer since it may cause them to lose their taste.
- Don’t store tomatoes near ripening bananas because fruits give off ethylene gas that speeds up the ripening process. This is why it’s best to also keep tomatoes away from apples, pears, avocados, peaches, plums, pluots, and nectarines.
How to Store Cut Tomatoes
It’s possible to store cut tomatoes at room temperature. You just have to wrap the exposed side of the tomato with plastic wrap, thus preventing any air from reaching the vegetable
However, this will be ineffective if you live in an area with a hot climate or if you are experiencing hot summer days. In that case, it’s best to store the cut tomatoes in the fridge.
To refrigerate cut tomatoes, place them on a shelf with a paper towel, ensuring that the exposed side touches the paper. But if the tomatoes are diced, put them in a bowl and sprinkle a bit of salt on top.
When you take the tomatoes out of the fridge, allow them several minutes to adapt to room temperature – they will taste better.
How to Freeze Tomatoes
It’s possible to freeze tomatoes so that you will be able to consume them for a long time – up to 1 year. There are several ways to do this, but we suggest using the following method:
- Pick only healthy tomatoes and discard the bad ones.
- Leave the tomatoes whole – don’t cut them.
- Prepare a bowl of ice-cold water.
- Put the tomatoes in a large pot and boil them for 30 seconds or until their skin starts to peel off.
- Transfer the tomatoes to the ice-cold water.
- Prepare a tray lined with paper towels.
- Move the tomatoes to the tray and allow them time to dry.
- Put the tomatoes in resealable freezer bags and make sure to remove excess air before sealing the bags.
- Label the bags with a marker and set the expiration date – no longer than 1 year.
- Move the bags to the freezer.
If you want your tomatoes not to stick together while defrosting, use canning jars – this way they won’t get squished.
You can use frozen tomatoes in several ways: soups during winter days when fresh produce isn’t available, stews during autumn and winter since they will improve the taste of your dishes, or plain by defrosting them in the microwave.
How to Store Cherry Tomatoes
- Like regular tomatoes, it’s best to store cherry tomatoes at room temperature.
- Place the tomatoes on a paper towel inside an uncovered bowl. If they are cut, cover them with a paper towel and add salt to avoid oxidizing.
- If you have too many cherry tomatoes, you can freeze them: line a baking sheet with wax paper, scatter the tomatoes on top, cover them with another sheet of wax paper, freeze them, and then transfer them to freezer bags.
- You can also freeze the tomatoes whole. However, they tend to get mushy when thawed.
How to Make and Store Tomato Sauce
One of the best ways to store tomatoes on the long turn is by turning them into a sauce. And, if you can them in a sterilized jar, you will not only save freezer space but also use the sauce longer – up to 2 years. Here’s how to make it happen:
- Prepare glass jars with metal lids and thoroughly wash them.
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius).
- Line your oven trays with baking paper and place the clean jars on them – don’t forget about the lids, too.
- Put the jars and lids in the oven and set it to 30 minutes.
- Gather your ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil, garlic cloves, basil leaves, salt, and pepper. You can also add other spices or seasonings, depending on your preferences. Choose only ripe, juicy tomatoes since they work best for tomato sauce.
- Boil the tomatoes in a large pot until their skin starts peeling off.
- Transfer the tomatoes to a tray and give them a bit of time to cool. Meanwhile, you can dice the onion and garlic.
- Once the tomatoes are comfortable to the touch, you can remove their skin, cut each vegetable into 3 or 4 slices (depending on their size), and set them aside.
- Add olive oil to a large frying pan, bring it to medium heat, and cook the onion for about 5 minutes.
- Then add the garlic and cook it for 5 more minutes.
- Set the frying pan to low heat and add the tomatoes, basil leaves, salt, and pepper.
- Cook all ingredients for about 15 minutes or until the consistency is right.
- Allow the sauce to cool off for a bit. You can leave it as it is or blend it to get a smooth texture.
- Remove the jars and lids from the oven and give them a few minutes to cool off. However, it’s not necessary to wait for the sauce or jars to be cold.
- Transfer the tomato sauce to the jars. Be careful when handling them so that you don’t get burned.
- Wrap the lids tightly and put the jars with tomato sauce back into the oven.
- Set the same oven settings as before – 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius) at 30 minutes (excluding the preheat time).
- Remove the tomato sauce jars from the oven and set them in a safe place to cool down and reach room temperature. You can safely store them in the pantry or any other convenient cool and dry place.
How to Can Tomatoes
Tomatoes are easy to can for long-term storage. Just follow the next steps:
- Thoroughly clean the glass jars and their lids.
- Set the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius) and allow it to preheat. Meanwhile, you can add baking paper to your oven trays and then and then place the clean jars and lids there.
- Place the trays in the oven and set it to 30 minutes.
- Prepare a large pot of water and bring it to a boil.
- Wash the tomatoes in cold water.
- Cut them in half, remove their seeds, peel them (if desired), and cut them into the desired chunks or slices.
- Remove the jars from the oven and give them a bit of time to cool down.
- Pack the tomatoes into the sterilized jars using a funnel; make sure to leave about 1 inch of space between the tomato chunks and the lid.
- Pour the boiling water into the jars, allowing 1 inch of space between its surface and that of the jar’s mouth.
- Secure the lids on jars using tongs.
- Place the jars back in the oven and heat them for 30 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius).
- Store the jars in a dark and cool area.
Tomato Storage FAQ
Learn more details about tomatoes and how to store them correctly:
What are tomatoes good for?
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and lycopene. They can reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
Should tomatoes be refrigerated?
You should only refrigerate tomatoes if they are ripe. Otherwise, it’s best to keep them at room temperature. Refrigerating them before they are ripe may affect their flavor and quality.
How to store tomato paste?
Place the opened can in a sealed container and store it in the refrigerator. Tomato paste will keep for up to 6 months in the fridge. If it started to dry out or has become too thick, add a little water to thin it out before using. Never store tomato paste in the freezer, as this will cause it to lose its flavor.
When should you eat tomatoes?
It is recommended to eat one serving every day. This way, you can take advantage of the vegetable’s nutrients.
How long do tomatoes last?
Fresh tomatoes will last for up to 10 days if you store them in the fridge. To prolong the freshness, cut the tomatoes before storing them. Just sprinkle some salt on top of them so that they don’t get oxidized and turn brown.
What to do with tomatoes?
If you’re wondering about the type of meals you can prepare with tomatoes, consider making a tomato soup (a classic comfort food), a healthy and nutritious salad to incorporate this vegetable into your diet, or a simple tomato sauce to use on pasta, chicken, or fish.
How long do cherry tomatoes last?
Cherry tomatoes will last for up to 5 days at room temperature. If you want to keep them fresh for a longer period, put them in the fridge.
How to store tomatoes for months?
To store tomatoes for months, you should put them in the freezer whole and only thaw them when you’re ready to make a soup or sauce.
How to tell if a tomato is bad?
If the tomato you plan on eating is wrinkled, it means that it’s too dry. You can tell if a tomato is bad by its dull skin and dry stem. Also, if you notice black spots or mold growing on them, it means that they are too wet.
How long does it take tomatoes to ripen?
It takes about 4 weeks for tomatoes to ripen. If you can’t wait, you can speed up the process by putting them in a paper bag. Another option is to put them in a sunny spot.
Can dogs eat tomatoes?
Ripe tomatoes are safe for dogs, as long as you give them in small treats now and then. However, it’s best to avoid feeding them unripe tomatoes.
Can chickens eat tomatoes?
Yes, chickens can eat tomatoes. However, make sure to remove the tomato stems and leaves before feeding them to your clucks.
Can rabbits eat tomatoes?
Yes, rabbits can eat tomatoes. However, you should only feed them in small quantities. It’s because the vegetable contains atropine alkaloids, which are potentially harmful to these animals. Also, make sure to remove the stems and leaves.
Are tomatoes fruit or vegetables?
Tomatoes are fruits. In fact, they’re berries because they have numerous seeds inside them. However, many nutritionists consider them to be vegetables for the sake of including tomatoes with other veggies.
How to dice a tomato?
To dice a tomato, cut it in half lengthwise. Remove its seeds and pulp by making cuts along the borders of the tomato, taking care not to cut through them completely. You can then slice each part of the tomato into long strips or small cubes.
How many calories are in a tomato?
A large tomato has about 33 calories and a medium one contains around 22 calories. However, it also depends on the tomato variety, ripe stage, and storage conditions. Still, you can safely include calories in your weight loss diet.
How many carbs are in tomatoes?
A large tomato contains around 7 g of carbs while a medium one has about 5 g of carbs.
How to peel tomatoes?
You can easily remove the skin on a fresh tomato by making a shallow X on its bottom side. Place the tomato in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then take it out and put it in cold water for another minute. Finally, peel its skin away to expose the juicy flesh inside.
How to cut a tomato?
To cut a tomato into slices, start by removing its stem. Cut it in half by making a shallow X on top of it. Place the halves face-up on the cutting board and slice them horizontally into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
Are tomatoes keto?
Yes, tomatoes are keto. It’s because they have about 3 g of carbs for each 100 g of tomatoes.
Final Thoughts on Storing Tomatoes
Tomatoes are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that are beneficial to your health. Besides, they’re super easy to prepare, and you can choose from countless recipes, such as salads, sauces, and soups.
However, if you want to keep them fresh for longer periods or be able to prepare them whenever you want, it’s important to practice good storing techniques. For example, you can put the tomatoes in the fridge, freeze them, can them, or turn them in tomato sauce and store them in sterilized jars.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for storing tomatoes? Let us know in the comment section below.