The Right Way To Store Tomatoes In The Fridge And Make Them Last Longer

Tomatoes, with their vibrant colors and juicy flesh, are a kitchen staple for countless dishes. However, the eternal debate remains: Should you store them in the fridge or on the countertop? The truth lies somewhere in between. While refrigeration can potentially rob tomatoes of their prized flavor and texture, with the right technique and a couple of tricks, you can actually keep them fresh and juicy for longer.

Tomatoes are known to turn mealy when stored in the fridge for extended periods. This unappetizing texture change occurs due to the cold temperatures, which can disrupt the cell walls in the fruit. The key to successfully storing tomatoes in the fridge is all about how you store them and allowing plenty of ventilation while protecting the delicate fruit. With just the right container that shields while allowing ethylene gas to escape and fresh air to enter, tomatoes will keep beautifully.

However, if your kitchen is too warm or you have an excess of tomatoes to preserve, refrigeration is a viable option when executed correctly. It's essential to strike a balance. Consider refrigerating your tomatoes when they're ripe or just slightly underripe. If they're already fully ripe, it's best to use them promptly or store them on the countertop away from direct sunlight.

How to properly store tomatoes in the fridge

The key to successfully storing tomatoes in the fridge is to provide them with the right conditions. To keep your tomatoes fresh for longer, start by using the right container. Many store-bought tomatoes come in a plastic clamshell container with small ventilation holes. This container is ideal for storing tomatoes in the fridge. It allows for some airflow while preventing the tomatoes from drying out. If you don't have the original container, you can use a plastic or paper bag. However, it's crucial to create ventilation. Simply cut a few small slits or holes in the bag to allow ethylene gas, which is naturally produced by tomatoes and can accelerate ripening, to escape.

Place the tomatoes in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. This compartment has a slightly higher humidity level, which helps maintain the tomatoes' moisture and texture. To prevent cross-contamination and maintain freshness, keep tomatoes away from fruits and vegetables that produce a lot of ethylene gas when fully ripe, such as apples, bananas, and avocados. Check your tomatoes periodically for any signs of overripeness or spoilage. Remove any affected ones to prevent them from affecting the others.

By following these tips, you can enjoy delicious, fresh tomatoes for a longer period while ensuring they maintain their flavor and texture.