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Storing tomatoes in the fridge tends to make them last a bit longer, but I've heard that the flavor is negatively affected. What is the best way to store them?

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Tomatoes will last longer if kept in the fridge, but I actually recommend against keeping them there. Tomatoes lose much of their flavor when their temperature is brought below 50 degrees F. Keep them in the pantry. They will still last a few days at least, and they'll taste a lot better.

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I found some further information which agrees with Electric Monk below, that it is the texture, rather than the flavor, that is affected by refrigeration: washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/19/… –  Knarf Navillus Jul 21 '10 at 15:50
    
+1 The texture gets terrible in the fridge! –  scientifics Jun 20 '12 at 15:47
    
For the lazy: 50 degrees F = 10 degrees C. –  akid Jun 29 '13 at 9:30
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This depends on the shelf life of the cultivar of tomato you purchased. Some varieties of cherry tomato, for instance, can stay fresh for over two weeks in room temperature, others less than a few days.

My advice: experiment. Try separating a batch of tomatoes into two groups, store one in the fridge and the other outside and keep track of their state after a few days.

As for the flavor thing - I find that it is the texture that's most affected from refrigeration.

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And most of all it depends on how ripe the tomatoes are when you're getting them. And if they are not very ripe, you should of course never store them in the fridge. –  citizen Oct 3 '12 at 3:02
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No. However obviously they will take a bit longer to ripen (probably what is affecting the taste) if you put them in the fridge, but they do not need to be stored in the fridge.

Try to buy only as many as you will use so you don't need to keep them for too long.

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Tomatoes do well when stored in a place with good air flow and out of direct sunlight (I keep mine in a mini-colander). Tomatoes that are refrigerated lose their flavor because their flavoring compounds shut down (and won't turn on again even when the tomatoes are allowed to return to room temperature).

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Can you elaborate on flavoring compounds shutting down??? –  nico Aug 28 '12 at 7:01
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Where do you live though? if you live in a hot / humid climate with no air condition, then put them in the fridge.

It also depends what are you using the tomatoes for. if you're cooking salads with them, then fresh and not in fridge is great; however if you're making sauces out of them, or cooking them, then I don't think it really makes that much of a difference.

Some might argue that it does, but how noticeable is the difference, especially if the above mentioned tomatoes are store bought and not home grown

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Putting tomatoes in the fridge destroys everything that makes them good to begin with. They will lose flavor, and their texture will become gritty and mealy.

Yes, they will last longer before they go rotten. But if you've got an abundance of tomatoes, cook them down and do something with them, don't try to stretch out their existence at the expense of their splendor.

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From the great Harold McGee, they may last longer in the fridge, but they will taste like cardboard:

Tomatoes came originally from a warm climate, and should be stored at room temperature. Their fresh flavor readily suffers from refrigeration. Tomatoes at the mature-green stage are especially sensitive to chilling at temperatures below about 55°F/13°C, and suffer damage to their membranes that results in minimal flavor development, blotchy coloration, and a soft, mealy texture when they're brought back to room temperature.

Excerpted from "On Food And Cooking", by Harold McGee

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Exactly. Michael Ruhlman and Lynne Rossetto Kasper recommend the same thing. I keep tomatoes in a wooden bowl on the counter. And agree with Electric Monk that it's the texture that suffers most by storing in the fridge. –  wdypdx22 Aug 30 '10 at 3:51
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Put em in the wine cooler at 57 degrees.

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Could you please explain why we should do this? –  BobMcGee Jun 21 '12 at 1:06
    
Yup. Wine cooler is awesome for tomatoes and eggplants! –  user18547 May 31 '13 at 21:05
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Ripening is an oxidation process and is slowed down by lowering the temp. As for flavor to me there is no difference only the temp difference. They are always stored in cool temp in the market.

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But not nearly as cool as a domestic refrigerator (1 to 4°C). Markets control the temperature so as not to spoil fruit –  TFD Oct 3 '12 at 5:13
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Foodland Ontario, the consumer facing arm of the Ministry of Agriculture has this to say:

Store at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, to prevent uneven ripening.

Only in extreme heat, or if overripe, should tomatoes be stored in the refrigerator butter compartment. But to ensure full flavour, allow them to reach room temperature before serving.

http://www.foodland.gov.on.ca/english/vegetables/fieldtomatoes/buy-store-prepare.html

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10-13 degrees optimal temperature for ripe tomatoes

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On what temperature scale, and is there a citation or reason for this recommendation? –  SAJ14SAJ Jul 14 '13 at 11:50
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