Despite food inflation dropping slightly to 17.4% in June, recent reports have revealed that food prices in the UK have doubled in the past year with meat, vegetable and dairy products being the worst affected.
However, despite food costs rising, new research from InSinkErator has revealed that Brits are still not storing their food properly to ensure maximum freshness – meaning a whole lot of us are wasting our food... and our hard-earned cash.
According to ONS, the price of tomatoes has increased by 10% in the last 12 months from an average cost of £2.19 to £3.19.
Despite increasing prices, tomatoes are one of the most commonly wasted food products in the UK, with 733 million tomatoes ending up in household bins every year – that’s over 2 million tomatoes a day.
So let’s settle this – how should we be storing tomatoes to keep them as fresh for as long as possible?
To fridge or not to fridge? The touch test will tell you
According to the pros at InSinkErator, a lot of households in the UK will opt for putting their tomatoes in the fridge straight away, but that’s not always the wisest idea if you’re wanting the perfect tomato for your meal.
When you bring your tomatoes home, follow this simple step before deciding where they will be stored.
Check the ripeness of your tomatoes: If your tomatoes are ripe they should have a bit of give in them when touched. Ripe tomatoes usually let off a light fragrance too, so if you’re unsure after touching the tomato, this should give you a definitive answer.
For ripe tomatoes, you can either consume these now or preserve the freshness in the fridge. Keeping them in the fridge will help them to last for around two weeks.
If you bring home tomatoes that aren’t quite there yet, it’s better to leave them on the side to ripen, as the fridge will interrupt the process, leaving you with tasteless tomatoes. Tomatoes can actually survive for up to 7 days out of the fridge, as long as they are kept at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.
3 ways to save your tomatoes if they are too ripe
A contributing factor to the huge amount of tomato waste that the UK faces is that we’re probably throwing them away too soon, thinking they’re over-ripe.
However, for tomatoes that are slightly too soft for your liking, here are a few ways you can use them in your cooking to minimise food waste:
Make a homemade tomato sauce
An easy way to make use of your tomatoes that are looking a little worse for wear is by simmering them down to make a sauce. You can really get creative with this, using garlic, onions, or pancetta to customise the sauce to how you like it.
Tomato soup is perfect for the upcoming cooler months
As we edge closer to autumn, it’s almost time for soup season. Commit to minimising food waste in your home by using your over-ripe tomatoes to warm you up.
Make salsa to reduce waste
For tomatoes that are on the softer side, consider making salsa to get the most out of your weekly shop. Simply blend your tomatoes with onion, garlic, coriander, and a spice level of your choice to create the perfect dip.