Cherry tomatoes are a popular choice when it comes to cooking and growing, but they are often eaten raw and without much preparation time. What if there was a way to allow for better storage potential while also creating a great tasting snack or condiment. Read on to find out how to use cherry tomatoes for an intriguing addition to any meal.
Cherry tomatoes are a delicious and colorful ingredient to add to any salad, burger or any other snack you wish to prepare for yourself or other party members or guests. They are, however, very perishable, but there are ways to ensure that your tomatoes stay fresher for longer. Here are just a few helpful tips which can improve the lifespan of your produce.
What is Cherry Tomatoes?
Cherry tomatoes are a small variety of tomatoes which produce a sweet-tasting flavor. They are much smaller than traditional tomatoes but still grow on vines. Their red coloring helps to enhance the color of a green salad much like bell peppers they are a contrasting color which draws attention.
1. Do Away with The Vines
One of the most prone areas to damage and degradation is the area where the stalk meets the fruit. By disconnecting the tomato from the vine and then turning the tomato upside down to protect the opening, you reduce the chance of reduced size and therefore increasing the longevity of the tomatoes full size. This is a simple and low-cost solution to the problem but does admittedly demand more storage space due to not being able to stack the tomatoes for increased effect.
Ensure that the stems are as flat to the protective bottom as possible, more coverage means that bacteria will have a harder time getting into the fruit, resulting in degradation. If you are short on space, try placing a divider surface (wipe down beforehand) and place gently between surfaces of cherry tomatoes.
There is a common online debate into whether you should ultimately store your tomatoes in the fridge or allow them to be placed onto the counter for better preservation. Read on to weigh the pros and cons.
2. Put Them in The Fridge
Although you sacrifice some of the flavors by placing cherry tomatoes into the fridge, you slow down the process of ripening within the fruit. This will prevent your tomatoes from turning green, although this does not stop the process (the tomato will ripen over time regardless) it will increase the time when they are at their best.
If you are a believer in flavor over preserving the storage of the fruit, completing this step may result in a reduced flavor value of the tomatoes placed inside the cooler environment. The cold fridge causes the inner juices to freeze slightly which affects the taste of the fruit. For an objectively better tasting and natural tasting tomato, placing your tomatoes in room temperature will be a better option, be aware that this will have a side effect of reduced shelf life.
You could gain additional lifespan from reducing the temperature even further, why not try placing them into the freezer for greater effect, read on to find out how to utilize an essential piece of equipment found in every kitchen.
3. Freeze Them!
Freezing cherry tomatoes will have an increased effect over the fridge but comes at the cost of having to let them defrost before being able to use them and could damage the tomato skin when they freeze. When a liquid freeze it expands and then this happens to your tomatoes, the same will happen to the juice which could result in slightly stretched or damaged skin!
To freeze your tomatoes, simply remove the stalk from the fruit and then place in a freezer. You may use a freezer bag if you prefer or a container to keep your tomatoes safe and together. To keep their size, refer to our first suggestion and place them into the container with the stalk downwards.
For some more unusual storage options, read below for some tips on how to store your tomatoes for a much longer period of time while also creating some interesting experimental flavors.
4. Pickling Cherry Tomatoes
I am sure you have heard of products and concepts such as pickled onions and eggs; well you can do the same to cherry tomatoes as well! Pickling will greatly enhance the longevity of the shelf life of cherry tomatoes but will also heavily affect the taste of the fruit. By placing the fruit in vinegar, you will be able to start the pickling process, this will take an extended period of time so only use this if you are not planning to use the tomatoes for a while. Refer to other pickled foods so that you can gauge how much the taste could be affected.
Adding the jar to an area where they can be displayed could add some extra spruce to your kitchen. The jar can enhance your kitchen and invite guests to become intrigued by your food choices. Combine with other fruit and veg to create a tasteful display of color, try to use a shelf perpendicular to windows to avoid damage from the sun.
Pickled cherry tomatoes are a great change-up to traditional tomatoes. Adding them to a salad will make you stand out as a more experimental food enthusiast. Be prepared for a new, yet great tasting alternative that you will love. Place the jar in the fridge and wait until the pickling process has completed and then enjoy at your leisure.
Did you know you can use other liquids other than vinegar to pickle your food? They don’t even need to be raw! Read on to discover more about pickling with a twist.
5. Olive Oil
If you are a lover of roasting your tomatoes, one food enthusiast suggests adding them to olive oil rather than traditional vinegar to pickle your tomatoes. This will allow the tomatoes to become infused with the flavor of the olive oil while also maintaining the effect of the roasting. This makes for a delicious blend which can be retrieved from the jar at any moment to add to recipes of your choice.
Unlike vinegar, olive oil is much denser of a liquid but is also sweeter. The yellow color looks interesting when placed on the self and helps to keep the ingredients together, allowing for greater flavor dispersal. When you using olive oil you should place into the fridge and then monitor it, after a few days if the olive oil has not solidified, reduce the temperature and try again.
Why not add some additional tomato varieties such as sun-dried tomatoes to add a more densely tasting flavor which can be added to salads or kinds of pasta to create a blend which will allow your sauce to burst with additional flavor! Other ingredients such as garlic and rosemary can help to adjust the flavour, experiment with different combinations to your personal preferences.
I am sure you have heard of the great tasting tomato sauce and all of its verities, why not make your own and increase the shelf life of your tomatoes at the same time!
6. Tomato Sauce
One of the most popular concepts of the modern age of cooking, tomato sauce has been bottled and sold in shops for decades, but have you ever tried to make your own and put a spin on the commercial success which is tomato sauce (or ketchup as it has come to be known in common tongues). Here is how to make it along with some ideas as to how to bring out the true flavor of your tomatoes.
Nigel Slater suggests that making homemade tomato sauce is becoming a trend and suggests turning your tomatoes into a great tasting sauce for you to enjoy with a multitude of different recipes. By adding herbs, spices and other ingredients you can make a personalized sauce which can change the face of homemade cooking feats.
The technique is simple. Simply chop the tomatoes in half, place into a roasting tin along with some sugar, olive oil and herbs and then cook for 3 hours at 120 degrees. When finished, place into jars for later use. Add the sauce to chips, burgers or another popular recipe for a change of flavor which will transform your meal.
Try it Yourself
I hope that you have found this article useful and can create some truly amazing experimental and concept recipes. Remember that you can put your own personal twist on our suggestions to make your cooking your own and adapt to your own tastes. Why not let us know of your creations and share your recipe with the world.
These simple yet effective concepts can change your perspective on the use of tomatoes in everyday cooking and hope that you can create a meal that you will love. There are also some great alternatives to our ideas such as drying or canning to enhance shelf life. They all produce their own characteristics and flavors so make sure you experiment with our ideas.
For more great ways on how to use or cook food make sure to check out our website for more great ideas, you can adapt and use within your own cooking. There are thousands of different combinations you can try at your own pleasure.