Tomatoes are red, slightly acidic berries that are often classified as a vegetable. Native to South America, the tomato is now grown all over the world. Because this vegetable is rich in lycopene, storing it in cold conditions--such as the conditions found in your refrigerator--will make it taste bitter. But the University of California recommends that you store tomatoes at room temperature.
Check for ripeness. Most tomatoes that are sold at retail outlets are not completely ripe. The ripeness of a tomato will determine the way in which you store it. A ripe tomato will have a bright red skin. Tomatoes that are shaded green to light pink are under ripe. Overripe tomatoes will have wrinkled skin, discolored bruises or will wrinkle when you slide your thumb with slight pressure along the skin.
Ripen under-ripe tomatoes. Green tomatoes can be placed in a brown paper bag with a ripened banana, and should take one to two weeks. Check the tomatoes daily, and replace the banana as needed.
Place ripe tomatoes in a paper bag with the stem scar facing upward. Keep the bag in a room with average humidity and cool temperatures. Most tomatoes retain their flavor, firmness and eating quality for two to three days.
Place tomatoes in cold storage for up to three days to prolong their life. Most tomatoes can be kept in a refrigerator’s crisper for up to three days without losing their taste.
Prepare overripe tomatoes by chopping them or liquefying them and then storing them in the freezer. Frozen tomatoes can be stored for up to eight months. However, it is recommended that frozen tomatoes be used in soups and sauces because freezing makes the texture mushy.
Dry tomatoes by cutting them in half and placing them on a tray. Set your oven to the lowest temperature and place the tray of tomatoes in the oven. Check every two hours and pull the tomatoes out when they have reached the desired dryness. Place your dried tomatoes in a jar and fill with olive oil. Place the jars in the refrigerator, and use the tomatoes in recipes that call for sun dried tomatoes.