Tomatoes are versatile fruits that are used in a variety of dishes. With their vibrant color and juicy taste, tomatoes are a popular ingredient in salads, sauces, sandwiches, and many other dishes. But what happens when you purchase a large batch of tomatoes, and you can’t use them all up before they spoil? In this article, we will answer the quintessential question, “how long do tomatoes last in the fridge?” and provide you with some tips on how to keep them fresh!
How long do tomatoes last in the fridge?
If you’ve ever stuffed your fridge with fresh tomatoes, you might have noticed that they seem to go bad quicker than expected. Tomatoes are best consumed within a few days of purchase, but if stored correctly, they can last up to two weeks. The exact length of time that tomatoes last in the fridge depends on several factors, including their ripeness and the storage conditions.
Factors that influence the shelf life of tomatoes in the fridge
- Ripeness: Ripe tomatoes have a shorter shelf life than unripe ones. Therefore, it’s best to store unripe tomatoes in the fridge.
- Storage temperature: Tomatoes should be stored at temperatures between 41°F (5°C) and 55°F (13°C). Anything below or above this range can cause tomatoes to spoil quickly.
- Storage location: Tomatoes are ethylene-sensitive fruits, which means they should not be stored alongside ethylene-producing fruits such as bananas and apples. The exposure to ethylene can cause tomatoes to ripen and spoil faster.
- Packaging: To extend the shelf life of tomatoes in the fridge, store them in plastic bags or containers that allow some circulation of air.
How to store tomatoes in the fridge
Storing tomatoes in the fridge can help them last longer, but you need to do it correctly. Here’s how to store tomatoes in the fridge:
- Place unripe tomatoes on a plate or tray and leave them on the counter to ripen. Once they are ripe, store them in the fridge.
- Wrap ripe tomatoes individually in paper towels and store them in a container or bag in the fridge.
- If you have cut tomatoes, store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
Signs of spoilage in tomatoes
Knowing when tomatoes have gone bad is crucial since consuming spoiled tomatoes can lead to foodborne illnesses. Here are some signs of spoilage in tomatoes:
- Mold: If you see mold on the tomatoes, it’s best to discard them.
- Discoloration: Tomatoes that are turning brown or black are no longer good to eat.
- Strange smells: Tomatoes that have a foul smell should not be consumed.
- Soft spots: Tomatoes with soft spots and mushy areas should not be consumed.
Other Ways to Keep Tomatoes Fresh
If you want to extend the shelf life of your tomatoes, here are some other tips to keep them fresh:
Keep Them Out of Direct Sunlight
Tomatoes can ripen quickly when exposed to sunlight. Therefore, it’s best to store them in a cool, dark place such as the pantry or a cupboard.
Avoid Washing Them Until You’re Ready to Use Them
Washing tomatoes can remove their natural protective coating and make them more susceptible to mold and bacteria. It’s best to wait until you’re ready to use them before washing them.
Store Them Stem-Side Down
Storing tomatoes stem-side down can help prevent air from entering the fruit through its scar, which can cause it to spoil quickly.
Use a Toothpick to Prevent the Growth of Mold
Inserting a toothpick into the stem of your tomato can help prevent mold growth. The toothpick will keep the tomato stem elevated, allowing air to circulate around it and reducing the chances of mold growth.
Taking steps to keep your tomatoes fresh can help you avoid wastage and save you money. Proper storage can extend the shelf life of tomatoes in the fridge, so make sure to store them correctly. And remember to keep an eye out for signs of spoilage.
Here are few common questions with their answers related to “how long do tomatoes last in the fridge.”
How long do cherry tomatoes last in the fridge?
Cherry tomatoes can last up to two weeks in the fridge if stored correctly. Follow the storage instructions provided in this article to extend the shelf life of your cherry tomatoes.
Can you store tomatoes in the fridge without packaging?
It’s best to store tomatoes in the fridge in plastic bags or containers. This will prevent them from becoming contaminated with other foods in the fridge and keep them fresh for longer.
Why do tomatoes go bad quickly in the fridge?
If stored improperly, tomatoes can go bad quickly in the fridge. Tomatoes are ethylene-sensitive, which means they can react to other fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas, such as bananas and apples.
Is it safe to eat tomatoes that have gone bad?
No, it’s not safe to eat tomatoes that have gone bad. Consuming spoiled tomatoes can lead to foodborne illnesses.
Can I store tomatoes in the freezer?
You can store tomatoes in the freezer, but they may lose their texture and flavor. Frozen tomatoes are best used in sauces, stews, and other cooked dishes.
How can I tell if my tomatoes are ripe?
Ripe tomatoes are firm with a slight give when you press them gently. They should have a bright color and a fragrant smell.