How to Fix 17 Basic Cooking Mistakes
Why it’s bad: Tomatoes have delicate cells, and excess cold (or heat, for that matter) causes the cell walls to burst, leaving the tomatoes mealy, says Aki Kamozawa, the author of Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work ($25, amazon.com). The flavor-producing enzymes are also destroyed, rendering the tomatoes tasteless.
Do this instead: Keep tomatoes on the kitchen counter in a single layer for maximum air circulation, and avoid putting them in direct sunlight. (You can leave cherry and grape tomatoes in their packaging, so long as it contains holes.) To speed ripening, place tomatoes in a paper bag with an apple, which emits ethylene gas, a ripening agent. Once ripe, they’ll last for up to 3 days. Some varieties, like plum tomatoes, will keep for up to 5 days.