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tomatoes on the windowsill

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Is it better to let the tomatoes sit out stem up or stem down?

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  1. On the counter, stem down according to Cook's Illustrated. I'd do the same on a sill even though it's not a completely flat surface.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gourmanda

      Tomatoes ripen from the blossom end to the stem end. Therefore, the stem end will be harder with little chance of bruising, particularly with big tomatoes. This is probably a nonproblem unless you are dealing with beefsteaks weighing over a pound where the weight of the tomato can bruise the ripest flesh. Note that the area of tomato contacting the shelf will usually be greater on the stem end than the blossom end.

    2. I just put 'em whichever way keeps them from rolling off. ;-)

      1 Reply
      1. re: jmcarthur8

        Yeah I've never noticed a diff on top to bottom but I do move them around if they are still ripening.

      2. Does the orientation make a difference?
        Slight caution: If they have the slightest nick or break in the skin, the fruit flies will find them. (At least mine did). I learned to put damaged but still usable tomatoes in a paper bag.

        1. the orientation does matter
          the shoulders,stem end is quite fragile
          if you are worried about enhanced bruising,stem up
          CI-ATK study addresses late onset disease via the stem,ergo stem down won

          if you brought in clean healthy tomatoes,stem up ...no crowding
          tomatoes don't need a window sill,just any wood or softer surface above 55*f

          HINT,end of season,won't ripen or make it out of doors,I pull up the entire plant or cut off long branches and hang upside down anywhere warm enough.I am too damn lazy for the individual paper wrap,which requires less space.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lcool

            The CI study looked at how long a tomato will stay fresh on your counter. The stem down orientation won; the theory being that the stem end is the area most likely to have a small tear/opening and therefore be the first area to start rotting. Putting the stem end on the counter acts like a "cover" that keeps the tomato from rotting as long as possible.

          2. I built mine a little hammock out of an old t-shirt. Maximum air flow :-)