Methods Of Storing Tomatoes After Harvest

Filed Under: Vegetables, Organic Gardening, Gardening Projects · Keywords: Preserving, Canning, Drying, Freezing, Tomatoes, Storing · 2604 Views
I have TONS of tomatoes. What do I do with them?? Is there a way to preserve them without canning? I don't have the resources or funds to start canning, but I don't want all these tomatoes to go to waste.

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Answer #1 ·'s Answer · Outside of canning, drying, or freezing tomatoes I don't know of any other ways for long term storage. To extend shelf life, you can always pick tomatoes early, when green, and let them ripen. But keep in mind tat tomatoes which are not allowed to ripen on the vine just don't taste as good. Unless you're planning to store your tomatoes for over a week, a windowsill, counter-top or bowl works fine. If you know you won't use them in the next few days, then lower temperatures (a cool entryway, the refrigerator) will help preserve the fruit. Contrary to our common practice in the US, storing in a refrigerator is not otherwise recommended, as the cooler temperatures can reduce flavor and cause mushiness. Your fresh-picked tomatoes will last longer on the kitchen counter than store-bought ones, which are probably already a few days old when you get them.

Here's the length of time tomatoes will keep using the various methods of storage:

Canning - This method will keep them for a year or more.

Freezing - This method will keep them for up to eight months.

Drying - This method will keep them for 6 months or more.

Here's some tips for drying tomatoes:

Sun Drying:

The easiest way to do this is to use the power of the sun. Traditionally, you would place your tomatoes between two simple frames constructed from wood and window screening (to keep pests off of them) and put them in a sunny spot to dry over the course of a few days. But if you live in a humid climate then what you'll most likely get is a bunch of moldy tomatoes because the humidity prevents them from drying properly.

Oven Drying:

Slice Your tomatoes about 1/2" thick and arrange them 1/2 inch apart on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper because the tomatoes tend to stick. Sprinkle with coarse salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of sugar. If you've got basil, or any other herb you like, you can sprinkle this on too. Put the tray in the center of a 170 to 200 degree oven. Drying time will take up to twelve hours. Check them regularly. When they look kind of leathery and are no longer exuding any juice, they're done.

Then remove them from the baking sheet, and let them cool completely on a wire rack. You can put them in a jar with a little olive oil, and keep it in the fridge for up to three weeks. Or you can seal them in any airtight container (don't add olive oil) and store them in the freezer for up to six months.

Hope this info helped.)

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