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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.

how to keep tomatoes fresh
Written by
Samantha Bailon
Published
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

how to keep tomatoes fresh
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

how to keep tomatoes fresh
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

how to keep tomatoes fresh
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.