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Growing Tomatoes: Should Tomatoes Be Refrigerated?

You may have heard that you should never refrigerate tomatoes, but is that true? Experiments on the subject, performed by Serious Eats, have shown that you should usually avoid refrigerating tomatoes, especially commercially produced ones, but home-grown or vine-ripened tomatoes tend to be okay in the refrigerator in certain situations. We will explore why this distinction is made, and when it might be worthwhile to use the refrigerator.

The ideal temperature to store tomatoes is between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. This is well above the standard refrigerator temperature that ranges from 34-38 degrees. If your tomatoes are stored at lower than 55 degrees, they will lose volatile chemicals that give tomatoes their flavor and fragrance. Green tomatoes are especially susceptible to this. They can also suffer injuries from being in the refrigerator that may include: pitting, mealiness, loss of firmness, decay, and uneven ripening. Since most store bought tomatoes are picked while they are still green, they are much more likely to experience these problems. 

On the other hand, tomatoes that have been ripened on the vine and picked at peak freshness handle the refrigerator better, though they may still suffer some loss of flavor. Refrigeration may be beneficial because fully ripe tomatoes will quickly get soft and decay. If you will be able to use the fresh tomatoes in one or two days, just leave them uncovered on the counter. Any longer than that, and you will want to refrigerate them to slow down the decaying process and give you long enough to enjoy them. To best preserve freshness in the refrigerator, remove them from the plastic bag and place them in a brown paper bag in the crisper drawer where the humidity is higher. If you have to refrigerate, an even better option is a wine refrigerator that stays at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Growing the Best Tomatoes

It’s no secret that the very best tomatoes will be vine-ripened, straight from the garden. If you want to grow the best tomatoes, you need to use the best tomato fertilizer. Dr. JimZ Tomato Secret is the answer. Try it today and discover the perfect tomatoes that will disappear so fast you will never need to refrigerate.


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