Sunday, August 29, 2010

Household Tip...

I am obsessed with Cook's Illustrated. Period. The publication has wonderful recipes and amazing kitchen tips for even the most NOVICE of cooks (aka- ME!) Recently, I bumped into an old CI tip that works SO WELL... I had to share!

The heat of the tail end of summer is here, which means tomatoes GALORE! Between the explosion of our personal plants, my weekly visit to a local farm, and a few EXTREMELY generous neighbors and friends with bountiful gardens... we can barely keep up with the supply.

It is a GREAT problem to have, let me tell you, though our goal is to obviously maintain the shelf life as long as possible. That's where CI steps in...

Published July 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.


How can I prolong the shelf life of a tomato?


We’ve heard that storing a tomato with its stem end facing down can prolong shelf life. To test this theory, we placed one batch of tomatoes stem-end up and another stem-end down and stored them at room temperature. A week later, nearly all the stem-down tomatoes remained in perfect condition, while the stem-up tomatoes had shriveled and started to mold.

Why the difference? We surmised that the scar left on the tomato skin where the stem once grew provides both an escape for moisture and an entry point for mold and bacteria. Placing a tomato stem-end down blocks air from entering and moisture from exiting the scar.

To confirm this theory, we ran another test, this time comparing tomatoes stored stem-end down with another batch stored stem-end up, but with a piece of tape sealing off their scars. The taped, stem-end-up tomatoes survived just as well as the stem-end-down batch.

Storing a tomato stem-end up allows air to enter and consequently loses moisture, shortening shelf life.

Storing a tomato stem-end down (room temperature is best) prevents air from entering and moisture from exiting its scar, prolonging shelf life.