Storing Tomatoes: This Is How The Red Fruits Stay Fresh Longer

How and where is the best place to store tomatoes? What is the best place to keep ripe and green tomatoes in the kitchen so they taste longer.

Whether red, orange, yellow or black-violet – tomatoes come in many colors and shapes. The juicy fruits should not be missing, especially in the Mediterranean cuisine. But how should tomatoes be stored so that they can be enjoyed for as long as possible?

Storing tomatoes: how to do it right?

Ripe tomatoes are best stored in a shady spot, as they spoil more quickly when exposed to the sun. Temperatures of 12 to 16 degrees Celsius are ideal, as a study by the US Department of Agriculture has shown. Vine tomatoes, on the other hand, prefer it a little warmer at 15 to 18 degrees Celsius. The substrate is also important: Since tomatoes are soft and therefore sensitive to pressure, they belong in a bowl lined with kitchen paper. Sealed containers are not suitable as tomatoes like air. If stored properly, tomatoes can be kept for up to a week.

Can tomatoes be kept in the fridge?

Tomatoes should never be kept refrigerated, according to popular belief. However, ripe tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for a short time, as a 2020 study by the University of Göttingen has shown. In the study, the scientists kept different tomato varieties in the refrigerator (7 degrees Celsius) and at room temperature (20 degrees Celsius) for four days each. A group of trained tasters was then asked to assess the taste, smell, aftertaste and juiciness.

Surprisingly, it’s not so much the storage that the variety has a major impact on the taste of the tomatoes, explains Larissa Kanski, lead author of the study and doctoral student in the Department of Quality of Plant Products at the University of Göttingen. In general, red fruits should not be stored too cool. “However, our investigations showed that ripe tomatoes could be stored in the refrigerator for a short period of time without any detectable loss of taste, since some of the flavorings were able to regenerate.”

So if you only keep ripe tomatoes in the fridge for a short time, they are still edible in most cases.

Storing green tomatoes: This is the best way for them to ripen

The best way to store tomatoes is also related to their degree of ripeness. Tomatoes that are harvested before ripening and are still green should be stored differently than ripe fruit. If you want to eat the green tomatoes as soon as possible, put them in a bowl at temperatures above 12 degrees Celsius and wait until they have ripened – it’s even faster if the sun shines.

Green tomatoes don’t belong in the fridge, as the cold hinders the ripening process. This can cause unripe tomatoes to lose quality and lose flavor.

Store tomatoes separately

The effect of apples is well known: if you put apples next to kiwis, the kiwis will ripen faster. The reason for this is the separated gas ethene (ethylene), which tomatoes also emit. That is why tomatoes should be kept separately, so as not to accelerate the ripening and aging process of neighboring fruits and vegetables. In addition to tomatoes and apples, ripening vegetables and fruit also include bananas, pears and avocados.

How do tomatoes keep the longest?

If you only want to eat ripe tomatoes after a few weeks, you should preserve them. There are various ways of preserving, for example

  • pickle in vinegar
  • boil down to tomato juice, sauce, or soup,
  • wake up
  • dry.

If you follow these tips and store freshly bought or harvested tomatoes correctly, the fruit will stay fresher for longer.

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