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How are you storing your tomatoes?

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mr drinky

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A few years back I saw Cook's Illustrated do a test on how to store tomatoes. If you lay them with the stem side down, they last a lot longer. I had never heard that, but after trying it my tomatoes last a lot longer. I even noticed my Wholefoods keeping their tomatoes upside down on their tables.

Here is the CI article.

Cook's Illustrated on Tomatoes

k.
 
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tk59

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Interesting! I hadn't thought of that. I do, however, try to buy avocados with the stem on. They seem to rot quicker if the stem comes off.
 

WildBoar

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Funny -- my wife stores them upside down like that, but her reasoning is that they do not roll around as much. She'll be happy to hear that helps them last longer.

On a related note, I need to crank out a few quarts of salsa tonight before all the tomatoes we brought in over the weekend go bad :-(
 

ajhuff

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I know you're not supposed to but I keep mine in the fridge. It's the only place I could find where to dog couldn't get 'em! :D

-AJ
 

mr drinky

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Your dog likes tomatoes?

k.
 

mhlee

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I didn't realize they lasted longer because of the scar. I always place them stem side down so the flesh (tip, point) of the tomato isn't crushed. It doesn't matter if the stem gets crushed; you'll be cutting it off anyways.
 

Eamon Burke

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Ours come in 8x4 flats, 2 layers, with paper between the layers, all stem end down. They do keep pretty well. They will start to turn translucent before actually rotting(they are still garbage, just intact garbage).

Avocados should be purchased hard green. The companies that sell/store/ship them don't take care of them. I was an avocado farmer at the sushi bar, we always had PERFECT avocados, and I can still pick an avocado at the grocery store so that it will be exactly right for whatever it is being used for on any day of the coming week. They're actually very temperature sensitive.
 

Amon-Rukh

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That is very cool to know. I'll be sure to pass on the info to my fiancee as well--she's always very concerned about the shelf-life of our produce!

@johndoughy: how does temperature affect the avocados? I've noticed that the ones I've kept refrigerated seem to stay closer to whatever state they were in while those sitting at room temperature seem to ripen and go more quickly but I've never really kept close track of it. So what's the real deal?
 

Eamon Burke

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Avocados are best kept stored between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit. They will just pretty much sit there, doing nothing, but will ripen over a long period of time, and it won't be even because of the weight being applied unevenly(they bottoms will ripen slightly first). Colder than that, and the seeds get weird, and the outermost part of the avocado gets damaged texturally, which can lead to rotting.

There are 3 ways an avocado can go: Ripening, Rotting, and Sprouting. They want to sprout, but you don't want them to. They ripen best between 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit(yeah its a tiny window. I kept them under a specific sink in the sushi bar because the temp was stable). You leave them wet or under pressure, or get them ripping hot, they will rot. This is never a good thing, it's the brownish spots you find that feel hollow when the fruit is still in it's skin. The stem can sink in to the skin and start molding. Above 72, they start acting like it's go time and breaking down. This would be a gradual, even process, but the avocado is losing heat on the outside much faster than the inside, so if you take a very cold avocado and put it on a warm counter for a day, you will get that dark green mush by the skin, and the stuff that's like an apple by the pit, and it will make a mess and annoy the crap out of you. This makes me want to try microwaving an avocado and getting it up to ~80 throughout and seeing what it does, might be on to something there. I don't have a microwave, so I'll have to file that one.

But all it takes is about 3 hours at 95+ degrees and the avocados will never be the same. If you take the firm green state, put them in an uncooled truck in Texas summer, and deliver them by putting them behind the vent to an ice machine, they will get those black specks you see at the grocery store. Sure they are firm today, but if you leave them on the counter, they will rot. If you cool them down and keep them humid, they will sprout, getting those stringy, woody lines in the meat that get stuck in your teeth.

If you get the avocado to *just* right before where you want it, and leave it on the counter for 8-18 hours, it will soften up considerably. If we took out perfect avocados for the bar at 10 AM and didn't use them all, the ones on the bottom were kinda crappy and soft by 11pm, so I'd put them in "use first" order.

A bright green avocado that feels as hard as a walnut, held at 68degrees, will be perfect for sushi in 4 days. The next day, perfect for eating out of hand or in salads, the day after that, guacamole. It is a happy day when you get the rock-hard ones, because they haven't been screwed with. I have learned, by handling unreasonable amounts of gator pears, to tell when the thing is hard in the center and soft outside, or when it has been treated badly and will turn out garbage...I grab them at the store and go to my Zen place and the Avocados speak to me....

Usually people want to see ripe produce at the store, but this is a lucky case for the modern global food machine. Avocados ripen *after* they fall off the tree, so they can be picked and shipped when they are as hard as olives, and ripen to perfection in your home.
 

Amon-Rukh

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That is awesome! Makes me want to run around the home and find the perfect temperature spot!
 

SpikeC

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Avocados are my nemesis lately. I buy them hard, and when they just start to often I have been putting them in the refer until I need them, by which time they are likely as not discolored inside and mushy just below the skin.
Now I have to figure out how to put the above information into practice.
 

mr drinky

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Though not nearly as experienced as Eamon, I've gotten pretty good at figuring out avocados.

I usually eat the whole avocado and rarely leave halves, but I did try out this trick from chowhound. I cut one in half, left the pit in one side, and then sealed the pit side in a ziplock storage container with some red onion. After a week, there was hardly any browning, and the browning that did occur was very superficial. Under the surface is was nice firm green.

The down side is that the avocado absorbs some onion smell, but since then I have wondered if storing them with onion might slow down the process.

Here is the Chow Link

k.
 
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SpikeC

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I can live with a little onion in my avo. I have used the "leave the pit in" trick and it makes a lot of difference in the life span after cutting, but I've not heard of the onion trick previously.
 

ajhuff

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Though not nearly as experienced as Eamon, I've gotten pretty good at figuring out avocados.

I usually eat the whole avocado and rarely leave halves, but I did try out this trick from chowhound. I cut one in half, left the pit in one side, and then sealed the pit side in a ziplock storage container with some red onion. After a week, there was hardly any browning, and the browning that did occur was very superficial. Under the surface is was nice firm green.

The down side is that the avocado absorbs some onion smell, but since then I have wondered if storing them with onion might slow down the process.

Here is the Chow Link

k.
Do you think you would have the same effect storing with cut limes?? Just thinking the lime would still complement the avocado should there be significant flavor transfer.

-AJ
 
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