Fresh tomatoes, sun-kissed and sweetly ripened on the vines are in full harvest right now! Of course, with fresh tomatoes, our next “flavor thought” is sweet basil. We thought we would share a few basic tips on selection and storage of these two classic summer ingredients!
- Use your nose! Smell the blossom end (not the stem). It should have a rich tomato aroma.
- The tomato’s skin should be taut (not shriveled) and free of bruises and blemishes. They should feel full and heavy for their size.
- Store ripe tomatoes in a cool, dark place with the stem-side down and use within a few days.
- Do not refrigerate! Refrigeration negatively impacts a flavor compound, nullifying the flavor and creating a mealy flesh.
Look for fresh, vibrant green leaves with no discolored spots or signs of decay.
- Fresh basil leaves should be layered in damp paper towels inside a plastic bag. Refrigerate up to 4 days.
- Whole Stalks
- Place stalk in a glass of water and cover with a plastic bag with the bag secured to the glass.
- Store in the refrigerator, changing water daily. Use within one week and wash leaves as needed.
- Freezing Options
- Blanch whole leaves for two seconds and immediately plunge the leaves into ice water. Pat dry and place the leaves in a airtight bag in the freezer. For optimal flavor, do not thaw before use.
- Put whole or chopped fresh leaves in a spare ice cube tray. Cover with water or broth and freeze. Once frozen, place the cubes out in a airtight bag in the freezer. Use within 4 months.