Tomatoes: Smart Storage
In 1994, I was up to my elbows in tomatoes, developing recipes for a cookbook about (you guessed it) tomatoes. There isn’t a more versatile or anticipated bit of produce from the garden. Everyone waits and wants that irreplaceable silky texture and rich, sweet flavor from a truly ripe tomato.
So you have planted, watered, fertilized, pinched, and now you finally have some beauties.
First thing to know: Never, never, never refrigerate tomatoes!
Tomatoes don’t like cold environments — after all, they’ve been growing and ripening in the summer heat. Leave them at room temperature for peak flavor.
Summer should be a relaxing time, but it often turns out hectic. The ambitious among you will cook up ketchup, chutneys, soups and sauces, even homemade tomato juice. And we still have to get dinner on the table!
With really ripe tomatoes on hand, you can make the easiest, best-tasting dinner by simply tossing chopped tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and torn basil or marjoram with hot pasta. Or make a salsa with tomatoes, nectarines and jalapeño to top grilled chicken or fish. Try drizzling sliced tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and a bit of brown sugar, and serve with your favorite steak.
If you have raised a bumper crop, you have several options for keeping them. Wrapping half-ripe tomatoes in newspaper and storing them in a cool (non-refrigerated) spot will extend your haul for a few more months. You may can tomatoes, freeze them, and/or dry them in the oven. Keep in mind what your family enjoys. I found out the hard way in 1994: there’s only so much green tomato pickle relish any family will eat!
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