by Carol Harrison, RD
You probably know that good tomatoes are firm, heavy for their size and free of blemishes, bruises and cracks. Choosing tomatoes is simple, but do you know how to store them? This guide can help you prevent spoilage and reduce food waste. And that saves you money!
Good to Know: By 2050, Earth’s population will reach nine billion. Farmers worldwide face the challenge of producing more food while minimizing environmental impact. We can do our part by curbing food waste. Uneaten food ends up in landfills and produces large amounts of methane – a gas that contributes to global warming – and Canadians are among the planet’s biggest food wasters.
Tomato Storage Tips
Store tomatoes on your kitchen counter, without a plastic bag and out of direct sunlight, to avoid fast ripening. Place them stem side up in a single layer, to avoid bruising. Aim to use up your tomatoes within four to five days of buying them.
To extend the life of ripe tomatoes by a few days, store them in a breathable plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer (low humidity or “fruit” setting), or remove the stems and freeze them whole for up to three months. For the best flavour, let tomatoes return to room temperature before using.
TIP: Don’t put tomatoes in the fridge until they’re fully ripe – they’ll lose flavour fast and become spongy. To save overripe tomatoes for later use, freeze them. Once they’ve thawed, peel off and discard the skins, then use the tomatoes for tasty sauces and stews.
Good to Know: Local is fresh and fresh tastes best! In Canada, farmers grow tomatoes in both fields and greenhouses, so we can enjoy them almost year-round. When we buy Canadian, we support our farmers (and their rural communities) so they can keep doing what they do best: providing healthy, affordable and safe food for all of us.
5 Ways to use Overripe Tomatoes
If your tomatoes are so ripe that they’re getting soft, don’t worry – they still have loads of flavour just waiting to be unlocked. Try using them in:
- Spicy spaghetti sauce or cheesy lasagna
- Tomato soup or gazpacho
- Beef or bean chili
- Scrambled eggs or a frittata
- Tomato sauce for cabbage rolls or curry
TIP: If a tomato has bruises or cracks, you can cut out those parts and enjoy the rest. If a tomato has black mould, however, compost the entire thing.
Want more tips? Read: 3 Fabulous ways to Enjoy Tomatoes
Interested in growing your own tomatoes? Read: How to Grow Your Own Tomatoes