6 Simple Ways to Keep Tomatoes Fresh for Longer
Sick of rotten tomatoes? Here are six easy ways to keep your tomatoes fresh for longer, saving you money and reducing waste.
September 22, 2022
The big tomato debate: to refrigerate or not to refrigerate? When considering how to store tomatoes, both options seem plausible as a means of maintaining freshness—and as we all know, there’s nothing quite like an in-season, vine-ripened tomato. A squishy, overripe tomato? Not so much.
When tomatoes are tossed, they often end up in landfills where they release greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Composting food scraps is one way to decrease waste, but another is to keep your produce fresh.
If you're wondering how exactly to keep your tomatoes fresh, tricks and tips exist to help keep the fruit a peak deliciousness for a longer period of time. Here's how to keep your tomatoes ripe and firm for your enjoyment.
How to Keep Tomatoes Fresh: 6 Techniques to Try
1. Keep Unripe Tomatoes on the Counter
Your underripe tomatoes do best outside of the refrigerator. Tomatoes thrive at room temperature—which makes sense, considering tomato season rests between May and October.
Food scientist Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking, puts it plainly: "Anything other than fully ripe tomatoes really suffer after refrigeration in every way."
2. Refrigerate Fully Ripe Tomatoes
If your tomatoes are fresh and ready to eat, they will enjoy a longer lifespan in the fridge. Though this method of storage is contested, in a study by Serious Eats, it was confirmed that ripe tomatoes last longer in the fridge and maintain their flavor so long as you leave them out to reach room temperature before use.
That said, if you're unsure of your tomatoes' ripeness level, keep them on the counter to avoid loss of flavor and texture.
3. Store Tomato Stem Side Down
For extra juicy tomatoes, place them on your counter stem side down. Storing tomatoes stem side down blocks moisture from leaving the tomato and prevents bacteria from entering it. Plus, the bottom of the tomato ripens first—allowing the fruit to sit heavy on the ripest area is sure to result in mush.
4. Tape the Stem
If you’re nervous about leaving your tomatoes upside down, achieve a partial effect by placing biodegradable tape over the stem to lock out moisture.
5. Don't Crowd the Tomatoes
As with most produce, proximity to other tomatoes will undoubtedly result in accelerated ripening. Touching tomatoes prevent airflow and increase temperature, the added weight from neighboring fruits promoting bruising and rot. Instead, store in a single later on your counter, or opt for a shallow basket.
6. Keep Your Halves Covered
If you're trying to keep a half-tomato fresh for as long as possible—aka until your next salad—use a Food Hugger and pop it in the fridge. The reusable option is more sustainable than plastic bags, tin foil, or saran wrap. Plus, the airtight seal ensures the extra half keeps its taste and texture.
Food Huggers Set of 5
There's no need for plastic bags when you have Food Huggers on hand. The thick and sturdy silicone covers fit produce of all sizes, providing an airtight seal that keeps your food fresh and out of the garbage. (No food waste here!) Use them on lemons, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and more—really anything in your fridge. This comes in a set of 5.
These innovative cheese huggers fold-over cheese creating an airtight seal without all the excess waste! The set of 4 fits over various cheese block sizes and the cheese can stand up in the fridge saving space. Made from 100% FDA food-grade silicone these are BPA and phthalate-free plus they are dishwasher-safe for easy clean-up!
Eco Cutting Board + Free Set of 3 Food Huggers
Everything to love, and nothing to waste. This BPA-free cutting board is made entirely of kitchen plastic scraps and renewable sugarcane. This smaller size board works perfectly for snack-sized cutting including slicing an apple or cheese! Throw some delicious crackers on it and it makes for a perfect picnic-sized charcuterie board. Plus, for a limited time, get a free set of 3 Food Huggers with this purchase!