【How to】 Store A Cut Tomato

Different Cuts for Different Uses

How you cut a tomato depends on how you are going to use that tomato. Are you making a salad or making a soup? You’ll have different cuts for both. Are you making a sandwich and need larger slices? Are you cutting tomatoes for a salsa or a dip? The cuts need to be different each time to achieve the desired effect.

Different kinds of tomatoes need to be cut in different ways as well. You cannot cut a large, plump tomato the same way as a tiny cherry tomato or a thin Roma tomato. The size and shape of the tomato often determines the kind of cuts it can give you and the options you have for cutting.

How long can you keep fresh tomatoes in the freezer?

six months

Thawing and Using Frozen Tomatoes When stored in an airtight container or freezer bag, frozen tomatoes will keep in the freezer for up to six months. When you’re ready to use the tomatoes, thaw just what you need in a bowl at room temperature, then peel before using.

Video

Cutting Small Tomatoes

Some tomatoes are so small that they are tough to cut into more than a few pieces. However, they might be too big for what you want them for. Cherry tomatoes come to mind, and they might not be comfortably bite sized for everyone, especially if you are putting them on a salad. How to cut cherry tomatoes?

We recommend simply cutting them in half. That should make them just the right size, and it is going to be difficult to cut them neatly into smaller sections than that.

For slightly larger tomatoes like Roma tomatoes, we suggest a different cutting method. How to cut Roma tomatoes? You probably want to cut them in half and then once more into quarters. That should be enough to make them into decent sized wedges that are about the same size as 1/8th wedges from larger tomatoes.

Roma tomatoes are often used in tomato sauce, and to prepare tomatoes for pureeing, you can simply dice them using the method described for cutting tomatoes for tacos.

How do you store opened tomato sauce?

For best quality, do not store spaghetti sauce in opened metal can – refrigerate in covered glass or plastic container after opening. To further extend the shelf life of opened spaghetti sauce, freeze in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.

How to store ripe tomatoes

As McGee mentioned, ripe tomatoes are best stored around 55°F. At that temperature, ripe tomatoes will be held in stasis, neither ripening or becoming damaged by cold.

Alas, most refrigerators are cooled to around 35°F to 38°F. That's a solid 20°F under the happy temperature of a ripe tomato. Room temperature, on the other hand, is typically somewhere around 70°F—a good deal higher than the 55°F your tomato wants. And when it's summertime (tomato season!), and there's no A/C, and the sun is beating down on the countertop—that room temperature might shoot up to an even less-ideal level.

Washing Cleaning

To extend the freshness of these fruit/vegetables (depending on who you ask), we recommend that you wait to wash and clean them until you are ready to eat.

They should not be washed before storage, since extra moisture will accelerate the growth of mold. And mold is not what you want to find when you’re cutting into them for your next bruschetta recipe!

When you are ready to prepare them, just rinse under the sink and rub with a towel to remove excess dirt.

Best time to Soak Potatoes in Water Before Mashing

You can soak potatoes in cold water for a few minutes to release some of the starch to avoid sticking to each other. The bigger cuts of potato can soak in cold water inside the fridge for 8-24 hours. When you store potatoes longer than 24 hours, it loses its structure, and this mashing a potato is the best way to salvage your over-soaked potato. 

Since you will add liquid like milk or water, you can store the peeled potato soaked in water for half a day then cook for dinner. To make the perfect mashed potatoes, you start with soaking them in water in the fridge, it is best to follow the steps to get the best mashed potatoes.

  • Peel and soak two kinds of potatoes, the starchy Russets and the waxy Yukon Golds for a few minutes.
  • Rice the potatoes by breaking them down to the size of rice grains by using a food mill or potato ricers that act as a press to create creamy and smooth potatoes like a puree. 
  • Stir the dairy of wither buttermilk or cold butter and add the liquid at once then fold, before adding cream at room temperature. 
  • Like mousse, do not over-blend the potatoes and mix the butter and cream slowly.

How To Store Tomatoes In Cold Storage?

Is it ok to refrigerate tomatoes? Storing tomatoes long term in the cold storage might be a great way for you to store your tomatoes for a long time.

  • However, experts say that the flavor loss from the tomatoes will be minimal if the cold storage lasts for less than 3 simultaneous days.
  • Should you refrigerate tomatoes? In order to refrigerate tomatoes or keep them in cold storage for a longer duration.
  • Use a plastic clamshell container and put them in the crisper section. You can also use a paper bag or plastic bag that contains slits.

Freezing Your Haul

Photo credit: Nikki Cervone
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

If you are a freezer fanatic, this is a very easy and low-maintenance vegetable to freeze.

While you can simply freeze whole tomatoes to be used later on, you can also add a few extra steps of preparation before freezing.

The culinary prep method called concassée, from the French concasser or “to crush or grind” is basically a rough chop that can be applied to a variety of vegetables, most often seeded and skinned toms.

It’s ideal for preparing larger, juicier varieties like plums and beefsteaks for freezer storage. They will be ready at a moment’s notice to add to your recipes once thawed.

Photo credit: Nikki Cervone
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

Concassée tomato preparation follows three main steps: peel, seed, and dice.

This method isn’t just limited to freezer storage – it’s a simple technique that can also be applied to any recipes where you do not want the texture of the skins or the extra juice from the seeds.

Store the tomatoes in zip-top freezer storage bags, being sure to push out all that extra air to create the best seal and long-lasting storage.

To save as much room as possible in your freezer, spread the tomatoes out in the bag to form one thin layer. Once frozen, you have a thin sheet that can easily be stacked with other frozen items.

Photo credit: Nikki Cervone
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

And don’t forget to date the bag!

Labeling with the item’s name and the date it was made will keep your freezer well organized, and your busy mind relieved! Use the FIFO (first in, first out) method as well, storing older items on top and in the front of your freezer, so these will be used up first.

This product can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.

To safely thaw the tomato concassée, the best method is to slowly thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Because the fruit is already cut into smaller chunks, this shouldn’t take more than 8-12 hours.

The night before you plan to make your recipe, simply place the frozen bag in a large bowl (to collect condensation) and place it immediately in your refrigerator.

Maximum Time Potatoes are Soaked in Water before Frying?

When you soak potatoes in water before frying, it reduces acrylamide. 

This is a naturally occurring chemical reaction when starch is cooked at high temperatures. Potatoes are fried, baked, roasted, or grilled, and this is when acrylamide is active.

When potatoes are soaked in water, acrylamide is reduced by 48% with less harmful effects.  

Cut and peeled potatoes that are soaked in water can stay in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This is ideal for french fries, sliced potatoes for gratin, cubed potatoes for a salad, etc. It is recommended to use large potatoes instead of small ones, but will still have the same results. Here are some tips to achieve maximum crispiness of potatoes after soaking in water.

  • Clean and peel potatoes under cold water.
  • Potatoes should be completely soaked in cold water and cling-wrap the top of the container.
  • Leave in the fridge for 24 hours to remove excess starch
  • Blanch the potato or fries in oil until tender but not crispy or brown from frying.
  • Before serving, fry the cooked potato in 380°F oil temperature until golden and crispy.

French fries should be soaked between 30 minutes to two hours to reduce acrylamide formation and lessen the starch. Once you take out the potatoes from the fridge, you have to drain and rinse again with cold water. Washing twice removes the excess starch and makes the potato crispy when you roast or fry it. 

How To Store Cherry Tomatoes?

Here are few methods which you can use for storing cherry tomatoes. Keeping cherry tomatoes at room temperature preserves the flavour of the tomatoes to the fullest.

However, you can also keep them in the refrigerator if you want to keep them long enough to last a week.

If you store them on the countertop, they will last for about 3 days, but if you store them in the refrigerator, they may last for up to a week.

Test 2: In-Season, Local Tomatoes

My first test delivered some surprises, but it was based on just a few varieties of lesser-quality supermarket tomatoes, which left some questions unanswered. Specifically: How does this wisdom apply to really good, farm-fresh tomatoes that are perfectly ripe and ready to eat, and are there any more useful guidelines for storing tomatoes?

To find out, I spent the next several weeks loading up on all kinds of fantastic tomatoes. Every time I went to the farmers market, I'd buy as many tomatoes as I could carry, then leave half on the counter and half in the fridge for at least a day before tasting them.

Photograph: Daniel Gritzer

You'd think that there'd be many studies out there that look at the effects of storage on really great, ripe-picked tomatoes that have come straight from the farm, but as it turns out, most of the research money out there goes toward studying the effects of storage on the average, picked-when-still-green supermarket tomato. My tests would try to fill in the gaps.

In all, I ran 11 different rounds of tests, each of which included several types of tomato, from hybrids like beefsteaks to many different heirloom varieties in all shapes and sizes. In all cases, the tomatoes were bought fully ripe from the farmers market. I kept half the tomatoes on the counter and half in the fridge. I conducted eight of the tastings after a roughly 24-hour storage period, and the remaining four tastings after two or more days of storage (with no tastings after longer than four days of storage). Like tomatoes were always compared with like (so, no pitting a beefsteak against a cherry tomato), and all refrigerated tomatoes were allowed to come to room temperature before serving, to eliminate temperature bias. When other tasters were present, which was true the majority of the time, everyone but the server tasted blind.

Here are the basic results:

  • In one out of 11 tests, tasters unanimously chose the countertop tomatoes over the refrigerated ones. This was one of the batches stored for 24 hours.
  • In five out of 11 tests, tasters unanimously preferred the refrigerated tomatoes—the countertop tomatoes tasted flat and dull in comparison.
  • The remaining five tests yielded either split votes or an inability to differentiate between the two samples. In all instances where the votes were split, no tasters had strong convictions about which tomato was better, so I'm considering all five of these cases in which the refrigerator and the countertop tomatoes were essentially indistinguishable from each other.

These results jibe with my original theory: Because peak-season farmers market tomatoes are already perfectly ripe, they benefit very little from extra time in the heat, and in many cases they are harmed by it, while the refrigerator does minimal harm once tomatoes are ripe. Even the texture of the ripe tomatoes was not noticeably affected by the refrigerator.

Let me leave you with one lasting image that, all on its own, should illustrate my point. Below, you can see the relative merits of counter versus refrigerator storage at the four-day mark on a pair of tomatoes that started out just about equally ripe. The countertop tomato is degrading more quickly due to its high-heat environment.

Photograph: Daniel Gritzer

Great, you might be thinking. You just showed that tomatoes rot faster at room temperature than in the refrigerator. Big whoop… But that’s exactly the point: If you're buying your tomatoes ripe (which we should all be doing!) and need to store them for an extra day or two, you're often better off storing them in the fridge than on the countertop.

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Ripe Tomatoes

The fridge is your friend, not your foe in this scenario. Supermarket tomatoes have already been refrigerated in their journey to you, so a little more chill-out time won’t hurt them. And unless you’re eating them immediately, ripe, locally grown tomatoes will also last longer in the fridge; eat within a few days. Store ripe tomatoes in your fridge stress-free and enjoy them within a couple days of purchasing.

Test 3: In Search of More Data

My tomato tests were challenging the long-held idea that a tomato should never see the inside of a refrigerator, but I still needed more data.

After all, more data is always a good thing, and reproducibility is the foundation of any reliable experimental result. I decided to run more tests, and asked Kenji to run some over on the West Coast, just to see if he would get similar results as mine. Either my initial observations would hold, or I'd have to revise them.

Kenji and I split up the tasks. Here on the East Coast, I went to the farmers market and bought a large load of both regular red tomatoes and a variety of heirlooms.** My plan was to do one giant blind tasting in the office, with as many people as I could wrangle, and more quantitative measures (as opposed to the strictly qualitative assessments I had done earlier in the summer). Then I'd follow that with some triangle tests to see just how well tasters could really differentiate between refrigerated and room-temp samples.

** For those wondering if I had bought crappy tomatoes from a wholesaler at the market, it’s worth pointing out that NYC Greenmarket allows vendors to sell only produce they’ve grown themselves, and that I had talked to the farmers to confirm the tomatoes had not been previously refrigerated.

Meanwhile, over yonder in the Bay Area, Kenji went and picked his own tomatoes straight from the vine, just to remove any lingering question about the handling practices of the middlemen. He then did his own blind tastings with those tomatoes. He also examined the refrigerated tomatoes for signs of mealiness.

So, what were our results? Shocker! The refrigerator still isn’t as evil as the never-refrigerate rule makes it seem.

My East Coast Tests

When I ran my initial series of tests, it was at the height of summer in New York City, with temperatures well above 80°F (27°C). Without air conditioning in my apartment, I found that more often than not, refrigerated ripe tomatoes tasted better than ones that continued to sit out on the counter, suggesting that in instances in which room temperature was above roughly 80°F, refrigeration was often preferable.***

*** Remember, I had found several scientific studies that compared refrigeration to "room-temperature" conditions, in which the room-temp conditions were all below 70°F (21°C), colder than many summertime rooms in real life; I hadn't found a single study that compared refrigeration to warmer storage conditions. I also found no studies that examined truly ripe tomatoes—they seemed to have all been designed with the concerns of large-scale tomato growers, who pick their tomatoes while still green, in mind, and not the concerns of those of us at home.

But when I went out to run this latest round of tests, temperatures in New York had fallen considerably, down to the 60s and 70s. My whole argument revolved around very hot summertime conditions, and I had made no claim that the refrigerator was equal to or better than temps in the 70s and below. With conditions shifting, I wasn’t sure what I’d see this time.

The Blind Tasting

As I mentioned above, I bought a variety of tomatoes at the farmers market. Most of them were regular red slicing tomatoes; the rest were an assortment of heirlooms. Their quality was variable. I put half of each type of tomato in the refrigerator and the other half out on the counter. The next day, I took the refrigerated ones out and let them come back up to room temperature.

I then cut up each tomato and assigned it a number. I had 10 tasters work their way through the samples, each in a different order, to ensure that no single tomato was disadvantaged due to tasters' palate fatigue. Tasters evaluated the tomatoes on a scale of one to 10 on four criteria: overall preference, flavor, aroma, and texture. The overall-preference score aligned almost exactly with the other scores, so the below chart shows the overall-preference score, since the others look pretty much the same:

Tasters' Overall Preference of Refrigerated Versus Unrefrigerated Tomatoes.

Before going into the specifics, I want to reiterate that this test compared tomatoes stored at temperatures in the low 70s to refrigerated ones, essentially pitting refrigerated tomatoes against much more ideal conditions than in my previous tests.

Instead of seeing a clear and decisive difference between refrigerated tomatoes and counter tomatoes, the differences were very small. On average, the counter tomatoes just barely edged out the refrigerated ones, except with the small yellow heirloom tomatoes, in which case the refrigerated ones received the highest average score. That was also the highest average score of all the tomatoes, which means that even when compared with much more ideal conditions, refrigerated tomatoes are capable of coming out on top: absolutely not what we'd expect if refrigeration were really as bad as the common wisdom claims.

Of all the tomatoes in the tasting, all of us (the 10 tasters plus me) agreed, unanimously, that the small yellow tomatoes—the ones that scored highest in the fridge and out—were the best.

Meanwhile, the basic red tomatoes were the worst in terms of overall quality, and they also were the set in which the refrigerated tomatoes scored the lowest. This lends further support to my theory that the higher-quality and riper the tomato, the less harm the refrigerator will do to it.

Simply put, really good, ripe tomatoes tend to do well in the refrigerator, while lower-quality tomatoes remain bad or get worse in the fridge: Underripe tomatoes continue to be underripe, and mealy tomatoes become mealier.

One more very important detail: What the chart above shows are average scores. But within each group, there was a notable variance. For the red tomatoes, for instance, I had individual refrigerated samples that scored as high as 5.5, and countertop tomatoes that scored as low as 3.6. So while the countertop tomatoes slightly edged out the refrigerated ones when averaged together, the distribution of individual tomato scores was much less consistent, regardless of storage method. This, too, suggests that the fruit itself is the bigger factor in how it will handle storage conditions, not some blanket rule about the storage conditions themselves.

The Triangle Tests

Next up, the triangle test, which determines whether blind-tasters can pick the odd sample out through many rounds of tasting. I wasn’t totally convinced there was an advantage to this test: I had never claimed that refrigerated tomatoes were going to always be indistinguishable from room-temp ones. In my earlier tests, we were unable to differentiate between refrigerated and unrefrigerated about half the time. But in the other instances, the differences were apparent; it’s just that in those cases, we tended to like the refrigerated ones more.

Still, I figured there was no harm in trying a triangle test out. I did a test run on Max one night, using more of those not-so-great red tomatoes that I had set aside. Max has a very good palate, so I was curious to see how he would do. In each tasting round, I presented Max with three slices of tomato in random order (either two refrigerated and one countertop, or two countertop and one refrigerated), and his task was to see if he could figure out which of the three was the odd one out. After 12 rounds, Max had correctly identified the odd tomato six times, which is slightly better than chance. (In a triangle test, random guessing should yield correct answers one-third of the time, which in this case would be four out of the 12 rounds.) When he was able to correctly identify the tomato samples, he also picked the counter sample(s) as his preference.

But when he got it wrong, he sometimes picked refrigerated slices as his preference. This is consistent with the blind-tasting results above: Even though the red counter tomatoes edged out the refrigerated ones overall, there were individual refrigerated samples within the mix that scored higher than some of the counter samples.

But 12 rounds isn't enough, so the next day I bought even more tomatoes, refrigerated half overnight, and then lined up five different tasters for a new session of triangle testing, with 24 rounds total. Out of 24 rounds, we'd expect random guessing to be correct eight times (one-third of the total number of rounds). By the end of my session, my tasters had been correct nine out of 24 times, performing just a hair above the random-guessing rate.

I'll be honest: As I was slicing the tomatoes for these tests, I felt that the differences were more apparent, but then again, I knew which was which. (In some cases, I thought the counter tomatoes were better; in others, I thought the refrigerated ones were.) What this test shows is that once that knowledge is removed, the differences can be subtle enough that tasters have a very hard time telling refrigerated and countertop tomatoes apart. So, while I don't believe that room-temp and refrigerated tomatoes are totally indistinguishable, these tests indicate that the claims of horrible effects of refrigeration on ripe tomatoes are exaggerated.

Kenji's Tests

Out in the Bay Area, Kenji also ran his tests, with tomatoes he picked directly off the vine himself. Just as with my most recent tests, Kenji's house is in the low 70s and mid-to-high 60s—theoretically ideal tomato-storage conditions. I'm going to let Kenji tell you in his own words:

"The tomatoes that I picked were fully ripe. I held them for two days, half in the fridge, half on the counter. I let the refrigerated tomatoes come back to room temp before tasting, then I did a blind taste test with six people. Of those six, two did simple side-by-side preference tests: They both picked the fridge tomatoes as superior. The other four did triangle tests: Of those, three correctly picked the odd tomato out, and all picked the refrigerated tomatoes as superior. The fourth person who did the triangle test selected the odd one out incorrectly, but she still picked the refrigerated tomato as her favorite. "I also did a test slicing tomatoes open and checking them (subjectively) for mealiness as they warmed up. I didn't notice any mealiness from a fully ripe tomato that had been put in the refrigerator."

Kenji's results support what I suggested above: Refrigerated and countertop tomatoes won't always be indistinguishable, but even when they are, the refrigerator isn't by any means guaranteed to be worse.

Our results from these latest tests are, frankly, as surprising to me as I imagine they are to many of you reading this: Before these tests, I never, ever would have argued that tomatoes kept at a mild 70°F could be beaten by or mistaken for refrigerated tomatoes.

Yet here we have multiple tests, performed on two different coasts by two different people, with many different varieties of tomato, and that's exactly what we're seeing.

Health benefits of tomatoes include

Tomatoes are high in antioxidants and are particularly known to be an outstanding source of lycopene, which recent studies have shown to be an important nutrient for bone health. They’re also high in vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E and manganese. Tomatoes have also long been associated with improved heart health because they lower cholesterol and triglycerides. They also reduce your risk for certain cancers (particularly and most researched: prostate, breast and pancreatic) because of their high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammaotry properties. 

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