Tomatoes: What is the best way to store fresh tomatoes?

Molly e-mailed the Kitchen Shrink that she had just harvested a lot of tomatoes from her garden and wondered what is the best way store them until she can use or process them.

Freshly picked tomatoes should be stored in a single layer, stem-side up, in a fairly cool location (about 55 degrees F) but not in the refrigerator. Divide them according to ripeness and use, freeze, or can the ripest within a day or so. Under-ripe tomatoes  will ripen nicely in your kitchen as long as they haven’t been refrigerated or chilled in the garden. A fruit ripening bowl does a good job but a simple brown paper bag will work as well. Include an apple or pear to release the ethylene gas that promotes ripening, check the tomatoes daily, and remove and use them when they are ready to eat. Even those that are completely green will ripen but are also delicious fried green and used as a side dish or on a salad or sandwich. See Sara Moulton Cooks at Home, page 52  and Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals, page 87 .

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