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Why You Should NEVER Refrigerate Tomatoes and more tips on veggie and herb storage

Chilling tomatoes can deaden their flavor to a point that they will never reach their full-flavor potential. The best way to store tomatoes is on the kitchen counter, stem-side down. According to Cooks Illustrated, a tomato without a stem is best stored upside down because it protect the tomato from moisture gathering around the stem that could hasten spoilage. While there is a lot of debate around this topic, I have had the great results storing tomatoes this way. In any case, it is generally agreed that putting a tomato in the refrigerator will significantly affect the flavor. Here is some background information.

Storing Herbs

A couple of years ago, one of our members, Nancy Henry, gave us an awesome tip for storing basil. It really works and will keep the basil fresh for a week or more! Put the basil in a glass of water on your kitchen counter. Then, cover it with a plastic bag. It is absolutely amazing how well this works.

Sadly, this tip doesn’t work so great for other herbs, but Nancy let me in on another secret – a glass herb keeper that she says works great. Here is the one that Nancy has.


So, now that you have fresh herbs on hand, what are some great ways to use them? One of my favorite things to do with parsley is to make chimichurri, the pungent Argentinian sauce that is most often served with steak in that country. It is made with parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil and a little red wine vinegar. Chimichurri is equally as good on grilled chicken or fish as it is on beef; in fact, it is also yummy on grilled veggies such as zucchini, summer squash or eggplant.

Here is my favorite recipe from Saveur Magazine, but google around and you will find lots of variations – some include cilantro or oregano – some are spiced up with lots of garlic and red pepper flakes as my favorite recipe is and others are more mild. In any case, the sauce will last several days in your ‘frige and is a handy condiment to have available for summertime grilling.

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