MasterChef Pankaj Bhadouria's Secrets To Storing Tomatoes
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Tomatoes have certain health benefits along with flavour and adaptability, making them essential in cuisines throughout the world. Tomatoes are an extremely healthy food choice as they are packed with antioxidants, potassium, vitamins C and K, folate, and other nutrients. Often, people store tomatoes in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life. However, in reality, refrigerating them actually causes them to lose quality, firmness and how they taste.

MasterChef Pankaj Bhadouria recently took to Instagram to address this issue and shared some pro tips. She mentioned how to store tomatoes without refrigeration to keep their taste, texture, and nutritional value intact. 

Tomatoes lose some of their flavour and aroma when refrigerated, according to MasterChef Bhadouria. On the contrary, she recommended letting them sit at room temperature for as long as possible. In addition to making the most efficient use of the tomatoes—which is especially important when their prices are high—this method also keeps their texture and flavour. Here's a detailed look at some other effective storage methods.

Better Ways To Store Tomatoes Without Refrigerating Them

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Store Tomato Stem Side Down
Bhadouria recommended storing tomatoes with the stem side down to reduce moisture loss and stop spoilage-causing bacteria from entering. Since this method completely covers the point of attachment to the vine, the main opening through which moisture can escape from the tomato, it is incredibly effective. To keep tomatoes from becoming too soft and wrinkled too soon and to keep their juicy texture, place them stem side down on a flat surface like a plate or a shallow bowl.

Never Crowd The Tomatoes

To extend tomato shelf life, airflow is essential. Bhadouria advises storing tomatoes in a single layer without touching them. This can be done by placing them on a counter or shallow basket. Avoid overcrowding to let tomatoes breathe and reduce ethylene buildup, which speeds up ripening and decay. Thus, when one tomato is rotting, the moisture and bacteria transfer is prevented to the fresh ones.

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Long-Term Drying And Powdering Techniques

For those looking to preserve tomatoes for a much longer duration, Bhadouria shares two effective preservation techniques: drying and powdering.

Sun-Drying Tomatoes

Cut tomatoes in half after washing. Add salt to help cut surfaces absorb moisture. For one to two weeks, keep tomatoes in the sun, but bring them inside at night to avoid dampness. Dry tomatoes can be stored in airtight containers for later use.

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Making Tomato Powder

Start by thoroughly washing tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes finely and place them on a tray to sun-dry. Bake the pieces until completely dehydrated and hard after one to two weeks of drying. Dry tomato pieces and grind them into powder. To prevent moisture absorption, store tomato powder in a dry, airtight glass jar.

These methods extend the usability of tomatoes and provide a flavourful addition to various dishes, offering a concentrated burst of tomato essence without the bulk of fresh tomatoes. This is particularly useful during seasons when tomatoes are less available or more expensive.