Won’t ‘over-ripen or spoil!’ Keep tomatoes perfectly ripe with easy food storage hack07/20/2022
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Tomatoes are perfectly in season and a popular grocery item in many households shopping baskets. But how can you make them last longer when you get them home? Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to Sophie Nahmad, Chef at Gousto, the food box service about the best storage hacks for tomatoes.
When asked where the best place to store tomatoes is, Sophie explained: “This depends a lot on what the weather is up to outside.
“If it is warm, like the heatwave we’re experiencing now, you’re better off storing tomatoes in the fridge, as unless you plan to eat them immediately, they’ll over-ripen and spoil very fast.
“If it’s a little cooler outside, keep them in a fruit bowl.
“This makes sure they’re at their tastiest, as storing them in the fridge stops ripening and affects taste and aroma.
“If you’re not planning to use your tomatoes straight away, keep them in the fridge,” she added.
Several fruits and vegetables can give off ethelyne gas, causing tomatoes to ripen faster.
“As a rule of thumb, bananas, apples, mangos, and avocados should all be kept away from tomatoes to stop over-ripening,” Sophie said.
“But also remember that tomatoes produce some ethylene gas themselves.
“Keep them separated from other ethylene-sensitive foods like fresh herbs, cucumbers, and asparagus to avoid spoiling those too.”
For anyone wondering how you can ripen a tomato faster, the chef revealed a clever hack: “To ripen tomatoes more quickly, pop them in a paper bag with a banana.
“Leave the bag in a warm spot, just for an afternoon. Any longer and they’ll over-ripen.”
As for whether smaller tomatoes, like cherry or plum tomatoes ripen/decay quicker than salad tomatoes or beef, Sophie said: “Smaller tomatoes tend to ripen quicker than larger tomatoes, like beef tomatoes.
“That’s because larger tomatoes take longer to reach the green (mature) stage, which is needed in order to move onto the red stage.
“Sometimes though, I’ve found that cherry and plum tomatoes last longer because they don’t damage as easily in their packaging.”
As for what someone can do if their tomatoes are too ripe, or have gone mushy, Sophie said: “We love creating scrumptious recipes at Gousto that use up over-ripened ingredients – the challenge makes it all the more fun.
“An easy go-to for over-ripened tomatoes is a fresh tomato sauce or chutney, but over-ripe tomatoes are also perfect for a zingy, cooling Gazpacho.”
Gousto’s British Heritage Beef Tomato Gazpacho Recipe (V)
One red onion
One green pepper
One red pepper
Two garlic cloves
Half a cucumber
One tsp ground cumin
Half a tsp dried chilli flakes
30g grated Italian hard cheese
30ml red wine vinegar
11g vegetable stock mix
One British heritage beef tomato
Instructions for two [for four]
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C (fan)/ gas mark six. Cut the red and green pepper into quarters (scrape the seeds and pith out with a teaspoon). Chop the heritage beef tomato into wedges. Peel and chop the red onion into wedges. Cut the cucumber into quarters lengthways.
Step 2: Peel the garlic. Tear one ciabatta into rough, bite-sized pieces.
Step 3: Take a quarter of the chopped peppers, quartered cucumber, onion wedges and heritage tomato wedges and dice them finely. Chop half the coriander finely, including stalks (you’ll use the rest later!). Combine the diced vegetables and chopped coriander in a small bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper and give everything a good mix up – this is your diced vegetable salad. Slice the remaining ciabatta into six slices.
Step 4: Add the ciabatta slices to one side of a baking paper-lined baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the grated Italian hard cheese onto the other side of the tray and put it in the oven for eight minutes or until the ciabatta is slightly toasted and the cheese has melted – these are your ciabatta toasts & cheese crisp.
Step 5: Meanwhile, add the remaining chopped peppers, quartered cucumber, onion wedges and heritage tomato wedges to a food processor with the peeled garlic (not a big garlic fan? Try using less!) and remaining coriander. Add the ground cumin, chilli flakes (can’t handle the heat? Go easy!), vegetable stock mix and red wine vinegar with two tbsp olive oil.
Step 6: Blend the vegetables, gradually adding the torn ciabatta. Once all the ciabatta has been added, blitz until smooth and season with a pinch of salt and pepper – this is your heritage beef tomato gazpacho.
Step 7: Serve the heritage beef tomato gazpacho in bowls with the ciabatta toasts to the side. Garnish with the diced vegetable salad and break the cheese crisp into shards over the top. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Recipes from Gousto, the UK’s best value recipe box offering 75 meals to choose from weekly. Visit Gousto.co.uk
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