Do Tomatoes Last Longer In The Fridge?

We've all been there--you're ready to make a delicious sandwich or a healthy salad, and when you go to grab a tomato, you notice it's soft and squishy. Few things are more annoying than fruits or veggies gone bad too soon, especially when your recipe calls for one of them. So how exactly do you prolong the life of a tomato? Should you keep it out at room temperature, or will refrigerating it keep it fresh longer? If you have been wondering if your tomatoes will last longer in the fridge, there's no need to look any further because we have found the answer tomato lovers everywhere are searching for!

Tomatoes last longer in the refrigerator. The trick is, you need to make sure that they are fully ripe before you refrigerate them. You also need to store them in the proper container. If you do all this, you can expect your tomatoes to last about 7-10 days in the refrigerator rather than 2-3 days sitting out on the counter.

The topic of tomato storage is a highly debated one, so if you have been questioning whether you're doing the right thing by putting your tomatoes in the refrigerator, question no more. We have all of the answers you need on this subject. So settle in, and we will provide you with all of the details below!

A tray full of tomatoes and cucumbers inside a fridge, Do Tomatoes Last Longer In The Fridge?

Tomatoes That Last

Anyone you ask will likely tell you that keeping tomatoes in the refrigerator isn't a good idea because they tend to lose their flavor when stored above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you aren't planning to use a tomato within the first day or two that it ripens, it's probably best to put it in the fridge. However, you should do two very important things before and after you put them in the refrigerator.

An up close photo of tomatoes on a wooden bowl

Make Sure They Are Ripe

Before you even think about putting them in the refrigerator, your tomatoes must be ripe. If they are not, refrigeration is not recommended because the tomato will taste significantly worse than if you let it ripen on the counter.

So how do you tell if they are ripe? Tomatoes should feel firm but not hard, and when you press on them, you will feel them give somewhat. However, they should not be soft. The color is also an indicator. For example, if you have a red variety of tomato, the tomato should be red and not orange or green.

Once they are ripe, make sure that you move them to the refrigerator fairly quickly if you aren't planning to use the tomatoes in the next day or two. Try to put them in the fridge the same day that they ripen.

Bring Them Back To Room Temperature

When you take them out of the refrigerator, food experts agree that you must bring them back to room temperature before using or serving them. Doing this will restore some of the flavor that they lost during refrigeration. Taking your tomatoes out about 30 minutes before serving them should be sufficient.

How Do You Store Tomatoes In The Refrigerator?

A woman holding a bundle of fresh tomatoes

So if you do decide that you want to preserve your tomatoes for as long as possible, there are some steps to take when refrigerating them. We already discussed that they should be ripe when you put them in the fridge and that you need to bring them back to room temperature before using them, but what about when they are actually in the refrigerator?

Storing Tips

When you put your tomatoes in the refrigerator, it's best to store them in a ziplock bag that is tightly sealed or put them in an airtight container.  This goes for both whole tomatoes and cut tomatoes.

Another tip is to store them in a place in your refrigerator that is the warmest. Since most fridges are set around 35 degrees Fahrenheit and the proper storage temperature for tomatoes is 55 degrees Fahrenheit; then it only makes sense that the warmest spot is optimal. Most agree that the warmest place is the refrigerator door.

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How Long Do Cut Tomatoes Last In The Fridge?

An up close photo of a sliced tomato

Whenever you cut up a tomato, you can no longer store it at room temperature, and it must be put in the fridge. Put the cut-up portions of the tomato in a ziplock or plastic container. Unfortunately, once it is cut, it won't last as long in the fridge as a whole tomato.

Cut tomatoes only last about 2-3 days when refrigerated. Remember,  just like whole tomatoes, you should bring the cut tomatoes back to room temperature before serving.

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How Do You Store Tomatoes For A Month?

If you want to store tomatoes for a month or more, there is one very easy way to accomplish this without requiring any special gadgets or complicated processes. You can pop your tomatoes in your freezer!

If you have extra tomatoes that you can't seem to use right away, you can always freeze them. Freezing tomatoes is quite simple. Wash the tomatoes, and then dry them off. You can either cut the tomato up or leave it whole. Then you put it in a ziplock bag or an airtight freezer-safe container. Ensure that you get all of the air out of the container before putting it in the freezer.

Your tomatoes won't just last a month; they can last up to 3-6 months in the freezer! Experts say that the tomato's taste likely won't be as good as it once was, but it might be worthwhile if you have a lot of tomatoes on your hands and you don't want them going to waste.

What Can You Do With Extra Tomatoes?

Tomatoes stored in mason jars on a wooden table

If you have extra tomatoes on hand and you want to use them before they go bad, there are so many things you can do with them! Whether you want to make a dish, a sauce, a soup, or can them; your tomatoes can really go the distance.

The first thing that comes to most people's minds is to make your own tomato sauce. Salsa is another great way to use extra tomatoes. There are also a lot of soups you can make with your tomatoes. If you aren't quite ready to use your tomatoes and want to save them for a later date, you can always can them or freeze them.

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Some Final Words On Refrigerating Tomatoes

Tomatoes can last quite a while in the refrigerator as long as they are fully ripe. Keep in mind that some of the flavor will be compromised from refrigeration, but in the end, it's your call--flavor or longevity. If you can eat your tomatoes quickly, then by all means, keep them out of the fridge, but if not, then the refrigerator might be the right place for your tomatoes.

If you are looking for more articles about storing and cooking tomatoes, check out these links!

Do Tomatoes Freeze Well?

Can You Microwave Tomatoes?

Can You Refreeze Tomatoes?

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