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Preserving tomatoes


jedovaty
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Hi:  My garden tomatoes are ripe but I want to use them in about 2 weeks for sauce.  What's the recommended way to preserve them?  Fridge the whole tomatoes and cross fingers? Peel/sauce/freeze?  Peel/sauce/can? 

Thank you!

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Personally I would eat fresh rather than waste on sauce - but if sauce is the plan - I would freeze whole. As they start to thaw the peel will slip off easily (in my experience)

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Thanks for the suggestion!  These are paste tomatoes which are pretty dry and I did not care for them fresh, however, when cooked up they are unbelievably delicious.  Sadly it's a determinate that's done, I just cut the last of its tomatoes and I'm making pizza with family in a couple weeks.

 

Also, for clarification, "temp" in the title means temporary not temperature.

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If they are just picked and in good condition I'd be tempted to simply store them in a cool dark place for two weeks. Super ripe tomatoes make great sauce but I guess spoilage is a risk.

 

Spread the risk? Store some, freeze some?

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I do not like raw tomatoes that have either been in the fridge or the freezer....it changes the taste big time to me.  I'd take the time to boil water, put the tomatoes in for a few seconds and then place in a sink full of cold water...then peel.  Place in a pot and simmer on the stove for a while.  THEN freeze.  Thaw and then make your sauce if you don't have the time now.

 

I'm very picky about my tomatoes :) 

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14 minutes ago, Shelby said:

I do not like raw tomatoes that have either been in the fridge or the freezer....it changes the taste big time to me.  I'd take the time to boil water, put the tomatoes in for a few seconds and then place in a sink full of cold water...then peel.  Place in a pot and simmer on the stove for a while.  THEN freeze.  Thaw and then make your sauce if you don't have the time now.

 

I'm very picky about my tomatoes :) 

 

This is exactly what ought be done!  Good on you, @Shelby   Cook 'em - they're at their peak.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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My first choice as well. Blanch, peel, and make your sauce as you normally do--the way you like it. Then freeze. ASAP, before they over-ripen. 

Freezing whole works fine as well if you need to buy some time. Once tomatoes peak in ripening, they start to deteriorate quickly. If you were heading off for a two week vacation and did not have time, freeze whole. Make your sauce when back home at your leisure.

I'm about to get hammered with a tomato harvest in about two weeks. Some will end in gallon zip-locks whole. Some will be sliced and roasted on sheet trays. 250ºF low and slow 1-2 hours. Into the freezer. Cherries I've been harvesting for a while now. Frozen whole in gallon zip-locks. Some of the big harvest will be sliced and frozen for a big batch of sauce I'll make in October. I only refrigerate if I have a couple beauties at firm peak and need to buy some time-just a day or two. It slows down the ripening a bit but two weeks no way. They will rot, but rot a bit slower that sitting out at room temp.

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Tomatoes as they ripen produce a gas (ethylene?). The riper they get the more gas is produced the faster and ripening process and the more ripe the more gas....

This gas increases the ripening process and will ripen surrounding fruit. I seem to remember that refrigeration slows but does not stop the process.

Greenhouse tomatoes are usually ripened artificially by "gassing" this way so they all ripen at the same time. But this process may be started before the fruit is ready to  begin the ripening process and the sugar/moisture levels may well be lower. This is why commercial greenhouse tomatoes are usually nowhere near as sweet as naturally ripened fruit.

 

So what has that got to do with this topic?

 

Well to store them without allowing them to ripen to the point where they are mushy or even start to rot, refrigerate them separately if possible (not usually practical) or you use to be able to buy (plastic?) fruit bags that actually absorb the gases (lots of fruit use this chemical reaction in their ripening process).

Be kind first.

Be nice.

(If you don't know the difference then you need to do some research)

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Refrigerating tomatoes is a terrible idea. Nothing destroys them quicker. They turn mealy very quickly.

It drives me crazy when supermarkets keep them in the chill cabinets, never mind a fridge.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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19 hours ago, TdeV said:

@Annie_H, do you seed the tomatoes before roasting? Or freezing?

No, never have. I know many do but I don't see the point. We like a big thick fresh slice on a sandwich so I don't bother. Our favorite farm stand will often give us a bushel basket of their 'Jersey' sauce tomatoes this time of year when we stop to get a few dozen ears of corn for the freezer. DH will do the deed of blanching and skinning for a big sauce but we don't seed them. I would not bother since its going in the blender anyway but he doesn't mind the chore. 

I prefer to roast various ways as I can add a head or two of garlic, some sliced onion, a few hot peppers,--into the oven and forget about it.  I'm usually multi-tasking. He is a one random task at a time kinda guy. 

Sometimes single layer on sheet pans. Sometimes in the turkey roaster, cut in quarters and piled in full. Depends on how many I have ripe at one time. 

 

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Those are green-when-ripe tomatoes above. They will never turn red. GreenGables most likely and a few tomatillos.

I grow many varieties. I just give the plants a number and keep a few master copies in plastic sleeves to reference once picked. 

So I need many methods to process for the freezer. 

With the wide surface area by roasting I can reduce the water content quickly rather than a big vat on the stovetop that takes hours. 

 

Screen Shot 2022-08-24 at 3.55.20 AM.jpeg

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13 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Refrigerating tomatoes is a terrible idea. Nothing destroys them quicker. They turn mealy very quickly.

First wrong issue is purchasing from a grocery. Most commercial tomatoes are bred for storage and horrid. If it sucks from the fridge, it sucked before that. 

Many exceptions the past dozen years. Winter grown tomatoes from hot houses in norther US and Canada are very good. 

I grew up not liking tomatoes. Mother always bought the cellophane three pack and into the fridge. Horrid. She made a classic simple Diner salad with a quartered tomato, some iceberg, a few slices of red radish. Smothered in bottled cheap ranch dressing. 

Myth busting for years all over the kitchen. SeriousEats on tomatoes I agree 100%. Not sure why people can't wrap their head around tomatoes being climacteric. They ripen off the vine like avocados, bananas, etc. Unlike berries,---strawberries, blueberries, apples, etc...that need to be picked ripe. 

I know my way around a tomato. I'm involved in two breeding projects. I grow year round. My Metallica would not exist without my grow-outs. One of my favorite tomatoes. I have a half dozen other tomatoes to full F-8-9. One large pink cherry is so good but does not produce enough seeds to ever be sold publicly. I share with tomato breeders and friends all over the globe. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Annie_H said:

First wrong issue is purchasing from a grocery.

 

You don't know where I buy my tomatoes! They are not from some corporate megafarm or bred for storage.

 

In fact I know exactly who grows my tomatoes. Her name is Ma Li Fang and for almost 20 years I watched her tend her plants every day on her small patch of land. She is mainly a subsistance farmer, but grows a few extra tomatoes which she sells from a local farmer's market (with real farmers, unlike most). My office overlooked her land. Still, after my retirement, I buy nearly all my tomatoes from her. Here she is.

tomatorc9.jpg.60302badefded19312ca8c7a47409525.jpg

Like 95% of the world population I do not live in the USA or Canada, so what happens there  has no relevance to my tomato purchasing. Nor do I take everything on Serious Eats seriously.

 

7 hours ago, Annie_H said:

If it sucks from the fridge, it sucked before that. 

 

That is simply untrue.

 

https://www.marthastewart.com/8199810/should-you-refrigerate-tomatoes

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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6 hours ago, liuzhou said:

You don't know where I buy my tomatoes! They are not from some corporate megafarm or bred for storage.

Lovely field of tomatoes. But where did I say that you purchase tomatoes from a grocery? I assumed by your comment that you visit markets and buy from farmers, not refrigerated grocery tomatoes. That was a blanket statement about those that buy any ol' tomato at the grocery just based on a cheaper price. Like my parents did for years. 

A few of our grocery chains like Stop-n-Shop, sell local Jersey produce this time of year. Not a chain I frequent but they have TV adds on the local news. 

Seems like you googled to find the first person to agree with you but did not read your own Martha link. The same person quoted in the first paragraph says further down, ..."If your tomatoes are on the edge of becoming overripe and you don't want to lose them, Lofts says you can keep them in the refrigerator for a few days to halt the ripening process."  Though not entirely true. Refrigerator temps will 'slow down' the ripening process. The only way to halt the ripening is to freeze them. 

And, ..."If you're only planning to eat half of a tomato, Anina von Haeften, co-founder of Farm to the People says to store the other half in the fridge. When left on the counter it will dry out. "If you plan on using the other half in the next day or so, the flavor and texture shouldn't be affected".

I don't consider this off topic. The original poster asked how she should store her ripe tomatoes for two weeks. 

A ripe avocado in the fridge will be good for a few days, but not two weeks. Out on the counter it will go south much faster. 

When I do comparables I often am slicing a dozen or more tomatoes at one time. The best BLT or tomato salad will be that evening. The rest of the slices go in the fridge for a next day salad or chopped for a fresh summer sauce with pasta. Or frozen. 

 

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15 hours ago, Annie_H said:

First wrong issue is purchasing from a grocery. Most

For many of us due to our location or our physical limitations, have few other choices. Should we then not eat fresh tomatoes in season? The tomatoes in grocery stores here in Southern Ontario are not the ones that were in the grocery stores in your parents’ day.
 

I am very fortunate in that I have a friend who visits a farmers’ market and brings me lovely tomatoes when she can. Otherwise they must be ordered online from my grocery store.
 

You are very fortunate to have so many options for your grocery needs but please remember that abundance for one is not abundance for all.   

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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6 hours ago, Anna N said:

For many of us due to our location or our physical limitations, have few other choices. Should we then not eat fresh tomatoes in season? The tomatoes in grocery stores here in Southern Ontario are not the ones that were in the grocery stores in your parents’ day.

Another misunderstanding and I'm sorry for that. I mentioned some exceptions exist in groceries. We may have the same selections since Sunset is a Canadian company unless they are sending all their produce to the US. They have greenhouses in Mexico but also in Ontario so they can sell all year. 

Our growing climates are similar as my garden is at altitude in the Catskill mountains. I may actually get a first frost before your area. Out of season, all the winter months, I purchase Kumato, Wild wonders, and Campari tomatoes. 

My parents live in a food desert. Or so I thought. About ten years ago, we passed a couple great farm stands and a CSA a mile from their home. We had been traveling with two big coolers and boxes of fresh produce from NY. On a drive to a few antique stores I stopped by one of their groceries and it was packed just like a WholeFoods. Full line of Bob'sRedMill, etc. Same tomatoes I brought along. Nothing a splash of good vinegar can't fix if they need perking up over the holidays. Their fridge does not reflect what they have available to them. 

 

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Edited by Annie_H (log)
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17 minutes ago, Annie_H said:

Another misunderstanding and I'm sorry for that.

Thank you.
 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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Hey, original poster here, got a follow up question.

Once sauced (i.e. peeled and chopped or processed), is the purpose of cooking the tomato to get rid of the oxidation flavor before freezing, kind of like roasting the stone fruits that was briefly discussed in the ninja cream-i thread?  If not, why cook before freezing?

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20 minutes ago, jedovaty said:

Hey, original poster here, got a follow up question.

Once sauced (i.e. peeled and chopped or processed), is the purpose of cooking the tomato to get rid of the oxidation flavor before freezing, kind of like roasting the stone fruits that was briefly discussed in the ninja cream-i thread?  If not, why cook before freezing?

Again, for me, the flavor of a good tomato absolutely changes for the worse when it's chilled before cooking.  Believe me, I'd love to peel a batch of tomatoes, shove them in the fridge, and then make sauce the next day, but I don't because of the flavor.  

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