Selecting Your Tomatoes
Select tomatoes that are deeply coloured and firm, with a little give. Sniff all tomatoes if you can. If they’re missing that sweet, woody smell, leave them behind.
Look carefully at the outside of the tomato.
- Most ripe tomatoes are a bright red colour, although tomatoes that ripen in hot weather may be yellowish-orange.
Smell the tomato to check for ripeness.
- The tomato should smell sweet and earthy at the stem. A strong sweet smell indicates that the tomato will be more flavorful.
Feel the tomato for firmness.
- Tomatoes that are appropriately ripe should feel slightly firm when you lightly squeeze them. A hard tomato needs additional time to ripen.
- If the tomato has soft spots, it usually means the soft areas will turn to bruises and the tomato may rot.
- A tomato that is too soft all over is over-ripe and should be removed from the vine and discarded.
Storing Your Tomatoes
Although there is much debate over whether or not tomatoes should be stored in the fridge, the best way to keep tomatoes depends on the ripeness of fruit.
- Keep unripe green tomatoes, stem side down, in a paper bag or single layer in a cardboard box in a cool area until they turn red in colour.
- Perfectly ripe tomatoes, fresh from the garden or farmers market, should be kept at room temperature, on the counter away from sunlight, in a single layer, not touching one another, stem side up. Consume within a couple of days.
- Overripe tomatoes that are soft to touch with very red flesh are best kept in the fridge. The cold air will keep the tomatoes from ripening more and they should last for another three days. Before eating refrigerated tomatoes, take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature. This will allow the fruit to develop some of the flavor it has lost due to refrigeration.