The Only Place You Should Be Storing Fresh Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes are one of the joys of summer. Nothing compares to their sweet-tart flavor and extreme juiciness when you buy them in season. They are a joy to eat in salads, sliced with cream, and right out of hand. But if you have purchased a lot of fresh tomatoes, where will you store them? You have several options, but only one choice is correct.

Tomatoes are delicate and should be handled carefully. Whether you buy them at a farm stand, in the grocery store, or are lucky enough to pluck some from your personal garden all red and warm, handle them carefully. Tomatoes bruise easily, which destroys their flesh (although you can use them with the bad parts cut out for tomato sauce, per Food Network.)

And there are so many types of tomatoes, according to Nature Fresh Farms: Cherry, grape, pear, and beefsteak are just a few. Heirloom varieties include Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, and Black Cherry, according to MasterClass. All these tomatoes have one thing in common: they must be appropriately stored and handled.

How to store tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes in good shape and not overripe should be stored on the counter or in the pantry in a single layer, per Reader's Digest. Do not put them in the fridge; the cold temperature will muffle their flavor and make the tomatoes mealy. That's because, according to Martha Stewart, tomato cells have an enzyme activated by cold temperatures, and that enzyme breaks down the tomatoes, making them mushy.

Tomatoes will actually ripen even if they are picked when they are green. But according to the Williston Herald, don't store green tomatoes in the sun since that will make the skins tough. Store them in a dark place in a single layer, so they don't rot.

However, once you have cut into a tomato (be sure to rinse it thoroughly first), it should be stored in the refrigerator, according to the FDA, for food safety reasons.

Make delicious tomato recipes

So now you have a collection of beautifully ripe tomatoes. It's time to make some delicious tomato recipes. Or you can preserve this summer bounty. According to the Farmers Almanac, you may can tomatoes, dry them, or freeze them. You can preserve whole tomatoes, sliced or chopped tomatoes, and puréed or crushed tomatoes. Note: If you aren't an expert canner, get materials from your state's University Extension office to learn how to do so safely.

Now let's enjoy those tomatoes and make some fabulous recipes. Try an incredible tomato pie with pimento cheese topping or Greek orzo salad with shrimp and cherry tomatoes with feta cheese and dill that is fresh and full of wonderful flavor. Gazpacho is a classic summer tomato recipe, thickened with bread and flavored with garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. Marinated tomato basil salad is also a perfect representation of the season. Or roast your tomatoes to make an incredibly delicious spaghetti sauce.