This post came to me out of the blue as I was making up the tomato marinade for one of our favorite summer pastas, Ina Garten’s summer garden pasta. As you can see from the below photo, this marinade uses both fresh basil and tomatoes.
So it got me to thinking, why not bang out a quick post showing you all how to best store these two summer staples. Both of these methods have worked for me, my tomatoes taste juicer and sweeter, and my basil lasts longer and smells and looks great in the kitchen, as it sits on the counter! Bonus! This post is not fancy, but a simple how-to post, so here goes!
Lets start with how to store basil. When I purchase a bunch of basil I don’t typically use the whole bunch at once, so this tip is great for storing any leftover basil you may have, as well as storing a fresh bunch that you just picked up from the store.
So here’s what I do with my basil when I get home from the grocery store to maximize its freshness.
Using kitchen scissors or a knife, snip off the bases of the stems, as you would a bunch of flowers.
Fill a small glass or mason jar with some water, and place the bunch of basil in the glass, making sure that the stems are in the water.
Store the basil at room temperature. Basil is a herb that does best at room temperature. If you put it in the fridge, the leaves can turn black.
Make sure change out the water every few days or so, and you may want to snip a bit more off from the stems. Think of the way you keep flowers fresh, it’s the same with basil.
Depending on how fresh your basil is when you buy it, it should last for anywhere from 1 – 2 weeks.
I just wanted to share with you a photo and text my friend Megan sent me after she took my advice on storing basil.
Megan’s text: “I bought a pack of organic basil at the market this past Tuesday. I followed your tip and treated the majority of the pack like cut flowers. I stored a smaller part of the pack on the counter as is. Look at the two side by side 6 days later!”
I love this side-by-side comparison, pretty awesome! Thanks Megan!
First off, you should eat or use your tomatoes within two to three days of purchasing them.
Secondly, DO NOT STORE YOUR TOMATOES IN THE REFRIGERATOR! When tomatoes are stored in the refrigerator they loose their flavor and develop that mealy texture that most grocery market tomatoes have become known for. They are less sweet, more bitter and don’t have any aroma. Yuck!
Store your tomatoes on the kitchen counter (room temperature that is) in an area that is between 55 and 70 degrees. The tomatoes will continue to develop their flavor as they ripen.
If you purchase semi-ripe tomatoes, store them in a closed paper bag (not plastic) on your counter. Check them every day to see how they ripen up.
Super easy, right?
Ok, so I hope this post was helpful to you all. Both these storage methods work for me, so I hope they work for you! Hey, not only does this help your produce stay fresher, but it’s also a simple way to dress up those kitchen counters with beautiful tomatoes and a basil bouquet!
Let me know if this post was helpful to you!
Do any of you have any great tips to share? If so, leave a comment!