What To Do If You Bought Fresh Tomatoes Already Refrigerated

Contrary to popular belief, not all produce items need to be refrigerated. When it comes to tomatoes, it's best to leave them out on the counter. They contain enzymes that, when exposed to the prolonged cold in your fridge, react and make your tomatoes soft and soggy. Plus, allowing your fruits to stay below 54 degrees Fahrenheit causes them to lose their flavor and aroma, which isn't ideal whether you want to eat them sliced fresh or cooked into recipes. Also, tomatoes can absorb other aromas in the fridge, so they'll get yucky even quicker when you store them there.

Sometimes we don't have control over whether our tomatoes were refrigerated. For instance, they might be stored in the cold while they're transported from farms to grocery stores. So what should you do if you bought fresh tomatoes that are already frigid? Let them sit on the counter until they're completely ripe, then put them in the fridge until you're ready to eat them. Storing tomatoes using this method doesn't result in a significant flavor loss — so when you're ready for them, your fruits will be just as tasty as if they'd never been refrigerated.

How to properly store tomatoes

If you buy tomatoes when they've already been refrigerated, resist the temptation to put them back in the cold. The frigid temperatures massively slow down ripening, so you'll need to keep them on the counter until they're ready to eat. Once tomatoes are ripe, the best thing to do is eat them right away since they're at peak quality. If you can't do so, storing them in the fridge for a day or two at this point will keep them fresher than if they were to stay on the counter.

While they're ripening, it's a good idea to keep them out of direct sunlight or heat. Store your tomatoes in a cool, dark area, and keep the side with the stems facing down so they don't dry out. You don't need any specific container; you can let them sit in a bowl or right on the countertop. If you do need to put your fruits back in the fridge, however, it's a good idea to keep them in a plastic bag or an airtight container to minimize any odor absorption. This way you can still end up with yummy, fresh-tasting tomatoes, even if they were originally refrigerated.