You may think it’s impossible to store tomatoes in the fridge, but you will be surprised to learn that they can last up to twice as long when refrigerated correctly. However, tomatoes are very delicate, so you have to handle them with care and be sure to store them properly. Here are 10 tips for storing tomatoes in the fridge, from just-picked freshness to salad-ready perfection!
How to store tomatoes in the fridge
Though tomatoes are typically purchased and consumed in the summer, some people like to extend their tomato season by storing the fruit in the refrigerator. The general rule of thumb with tomatoes (and most fruits) is that if they are not ripe when you purchase them, allow them to ripen on your countertop at room temperature before putting them in the fridge to extend their shelf life by another couple of weeks. Here are the things you need to keep in mind before storing tomatoes in the fridge.
- Store them in a dark place
Tomatoes are a highly perishable food. Tomatoes picked green or not ripened on the vine don’t have much flavor and are very low in acid. These tomatoes should be eaten quickly before they turn soft and develop an off-flavor within a day or two of purchase. Keep them at room temperature if you need to eat them right away.
But after eating most of what we buy from our garden, I like to store my remaining tomatoes in a paper bag (not plastic) sitting on our kitchen counter. This keeps them ripe longer because they breathe better than stored inside plastic containers.
It also helps prevent bruising by putting fewer into each container (especially true when we get down to cherry tomato size). And it means that I can go through more of my favorites as time goes by without worrying about spoilage since I already know how long they last!
- Store them with apples
Tomatoes release ethylene gas, which can cause some fruits and vegetables to ripen more quickly. If you have any apples around, keep them nearby—the ethylene they emit will help slow down your tomatoes’ decay.
- Store them on a plate
Tomatoes are very susceptible to bruising, and it’s best to store them as gently as possible. You can wrap them in paper towels or put them on a plate without crushing or putting unnecessary pressure on them. It will also make it easier to check if they need water.
Check your tomatoes every day: Tomatoes need to keep well hydrated, so checking your fruit regularly is crucial. Without enough water, your fresh-grown crop will shrivel up and begin to rot. You should look out for spots that look yellow or brownish – that’s when you know something isn’t right with your tomato!
- Do not store them near onions
Tomatoes and onions both emit a sulfur compound that reduces tomato shelf life. Stick to cold, dry places. You can even store them at refrigerator temperatures as long as they aren’t touching fruits or vegetables that emit ethylene gas, like apples or pears.
- Avoid plastic bags
They may look great at first, but plastic bags are one of those things that don’t age well. Plastics that are left in one place for an extended period can leach chemicals into whatever you store them with (like your tomatoes). Your best bet is to transfer your produce into glass containers. Look for ones with rubber seals; they won’t leak air or moisture and keep your veggies fresh longer.
- Do not wash them until you are about to use them
Wash your tomatoes at least one day before you plan to use them. This will ensure that they’re nice and fresh by the time you need them. Keep them out of sunlight: Since sunlight can cause fruits and vegetables to lose their flavor, keeping your tomatoes out of bright light is a good idea. Ensure they’re exposed to air: Whether you refrigerate your tomatoes whole or cut up, be sure they are not submerged underwater when stored.
- Keep air flowing around them
Tomatoes ripen slowly, but they continue to ripen as they sit on your countertop. They will rot faster if you let them touch each other, so give them some space! Store them stem side up so that air can circulate them. If you’re low on storage space and have to stack or place a few together, be sure to separate them with pieces of paper towel or newspaper and replace them often. This prevents mold from developing on the surface and staining your beautiful tomatoes.
- Watch out for condensation forming
Even worse than having a moist tomato is a tomato stored with other products that have liquid on it. The moisture from these fruits or vegetables will transfer to your tomato, causing rot and mold. One way to avoid condensation is always to store your fruit and veggies in different containers, as I mentioned earlier. If you can’t do that, be sure to wipe off any excess water before placing them in with other produce.
- Always make sure they are dry before putting them away
Tomatoes will last longer if they are dry before going into your refrigerator. If your tomatoes have any moisture on them, they will rot faster than you can imagine. So make sure they are thoroughly dried first. Putting them in a paper bag is ideal, as it allows excess moisture to evaporate away.
- Keep an eye on their ripeness so you can eat them at their prime
Check your cherry or grape tomatoes a few times each week, and eat them as soon as they ripen to avoid overripening. (If you don’t plan on eating them within a few days, keep a larger variety at room temperature.) A ripe tomato will yield slightly when squeezed and will have developed some color.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to store grape tomatoes in the fridge?
The storage life of grape tomatoes can be extended by storing them in plastic containers layered with a paper towel. This will limit the moisture from the tomatoes seeping into other fruits and vegetables and reduce the risk of contamination. It is advisable to keep grape tomatoes in the fridge as they are more likely to spoil than most other vegetables.
How to store cherry tomatoes in the fridge?
The cherry tomatoes can store in a sealed, airtight container and place in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. They should not store on top of other products as they produce ethylene gas which causes degradation. The shelf life of cherry tomatoes is one to two weeks.
Cherry tomatoes should store in the refrigerator at a temperature of approximately 34°F (1°C). The humidity level should be as close as possible to 50%. This means that the cherry tomatoes must not sit on a dry surface; they should line up and never touch each other.
How to store ripe tomatoes in the fridge?
A ripe tomato can store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days before it starts to get syrupy. To store the tomato, place its stem side down on a shallow plate or dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
In conclusion, Tomatoes should store in the refrigerator. Tomatoes do not ripe properly when it left at room temperature. They should store in the crisper of the refrigerator, where their flavor will remain lively for up to three weeks.
- Don’t wash tomatoes until you’re ready to eat them
- Store tomatoes stem side down, then pat dry
- Keep tomatoes in a sealed container with a moist paper towel
- Wrap cut tomatoes tightly in plastic wrap to keep them from going bad
- Put cut tomatoes on top of lettuce to help them last longer
- Never store under the fridge
On the other hand, storing tomatoes in the fridge will cause the skin to become tough and leathery. When storing at first, it is best to store them loosely or in a paper bag to preserve its natural water content and keep it fresh for all of your recipes.