Nothing tastes better than fresh tomatoes that are truly vine-ripened. Although some tomatoes may be available year-round, vine-ripened Idaho tomatoes are only available during the summer growing season—or when grown in a local greenhouse.
Idaho’s farmers produce tomatoes primarily for local markets, which they’re typically harvested when they are truly ripe. Idaho’s warm summer days and brisk cool nights allow the sugar to build inside the tomatoes to produce a sweet and juicy tomato. Tomatoes are also grown locally in greenhouses, extending season availability from early spring through late fall.
How to pick: Choosing the perfect tomato calls upon multiple senses. You’ll need to inspect, feel and smell your way to the perfect fruit. The best tomatoes are free of blemishes and bruises and should be a deep, bright red. A good tomato is firm enough to resist pressure, but not hard. Touch is also a good way to test heirloom tomatoes, which can be purple, lumpy, tiny, or green even when ripe. The most flavorful tomato will have a fragrant smell. The sweet and earthy smell from the stem of the tomatoes is a clear indicator that you chose your tomato wisely.
How to store: One of the most common food storage mistakes is keeping tomatoes in the refrigerator. Cold temperatures can affect the flavor and texture of a tomato in a matter of days. Instead, store tomatoes in a bowl with stems up. Tomato stems are fragile, so when placed face down, they’re likely to bruise, which leads to rot. Keep tomatoes away from heat and direct sunlight. Tomatoes should keep for at least a week when stored properly.