how long do tomatoes last in the fridge

How Long Do Tomatoes Last in the Fridge?

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

When tomatoes are in storage, they are likely to go bad before you know it. Therefore, a good storage method will come in handy in preserving tomatoes. The most common is freezing. So how long do tomatoes last in the fridge? Let's find out!

Why Do Tomatoes Go Bad So Quickly?

For starters, it has been proven that tomatoes go bad faster at room temperature. Therefore, it is not ideal for storing tomatoes on your countertop, hoping they will stay fresh for more than three days. However, if you store tomatoes at room temperature and use them before they go bad, you will have an excellent taste in your food.

Additionally, unripe tomatoes will take at least 2-10 days to ripen fully. After they ripen, you can either use them immediately or freeze them. However, freezing tomatoes might disrupt the enzyme activity. As a result, you might end up using bland tomatoes in your food.

Furthermore, storing tomatoes requires a delicate balance between being fresh and ripe, and staying that way for a long time. You need a few hacks up your sleeve to refrigerate tomatoes and keep tomatoes fresh. If you grow your own tomatoes, ensure you have no yellow tomato leaves or white spots on the tomato leaves for healthier produce.

Let's look at how to freeze tomatoes and keep them fresh.

How To Prepare Your Tomatoes For Refrigeration

Your tomatoes usually last about two weeks in the fridge before they start going bad. However, there are some tips and hacks you can apply to stretch out the lifespan of your tomatoes through preparation. The following steps apply to all the tomato species, from cherry tomatoes to plum tomatoes.

Step 1

You want to start by waiting for your tomatoes to ripen fully. However, even if you have raw tomatoes, don't refrigerate them before they ripen. You will end up with bland and tasteless tomatoes if you do. Instead, allow the tomatoes to ripen from green to red.

Step 2

Next, pluck off any stems, and tomato plant leaves your tomatoes might have. This will reduce water loss and help your tomatoes stay fresh and plump for longer.

Step 3

If you have a wine fridge, it will be the perfect environment to store tomatoes and keep them fresh for longer. They will also retain their taste and juiciness. You want to store tomatoes on the top shelf of your fridge if you intend to use them within two weeks.

Step 4

If you have fully ripe or overripe tomatoes and don't want to use them immediately, it is acceptable to freeze them. However, before freezing, place all the tomatoes in an airtight container. You can also freeze sliced tomatoes. In some cases, the tomato seeds aren't worth being kept. So you can go ahead and scoop out all the pulp before slicing.

Fully freezing tomatoes in the refrigerator will keep them fresh for at least three months and preserve the flavor. They will still be fine past three months; however, the taste will get blander with time. Frozen tomatoes will stay edible for up to one year or even 18 months.

However, once you thaw them out, they will become mushy and have a mealy texture. You can use them for soups.

How Long Different Types of Tomatoes Last

Some tomatoes make it to you in cans. Such tomatoes have been subjected to chemical processes that make them last longer. Here is how long different types of tomatoes will last.

a) Tomatoes in Apple Cider Vinegar

An unopened can of tomatoes preserved in Apple cider vinegar will last up to a year. However, with this type of preservation, refrigerating is not recommended. After opening it, you should use all of it for the best taste.

b) Dehydrated Tomatoes

Dehydrated tomatoes can last six months at room temperature. When refrigerated, they can go up to 18 months. Additionally, these tomatoes have an excellent taste when grown in the right conditions and with adequate access to tomato fertilizer and nutrients.

c) Cooked Tomatoes

Cooked tomatoes are tricky. They don't last more than three hours at room temperature. However, when refrigerated, they can last three days before the tomatoes develop black spots and go rancid.

d) Unopened Canned Tomatoes

When unopened, canned tomatoes can stay fresh and edible for up to 18 months. It is not recommended to refrigerate them because they already contain preservatives.

e) Fresh Sliced Tomatoes

Sliced tomatoes can be left over from when you started to cook. Whatever the case, ensure to refrigerate them. Sliced tomatoes will retain their taste and texture for at least three days when refrigerated. At room temperature, you have a few hours before they start to spoil. Of course, you can always do the sniff test to determine whether they are going bad.

f) Ripe Tomatoes

When well-prepared, ripe tomatoes can last for at least two weeks in your fridge before they start to become mushy and soft. However, if you continue to freeze them, they will retain a taste for at least a year.

Tips For Speeding Up The Ripening Process

When tomatoes are unripe, you can hasten the ripening process in the following ways:

  • Store them in a dry area. You can make them a spot on your counter or a fruit bowl.
  • Put the tomatoes in a brown paper bag and seal the bag. This is an excellent way to ripen tomatoes and keep them fresh in the process. The bag also wicks away any moisture.
  • You can also put another ripened fruit in the paper bag. For example, a ripe banana will release ethylene gas which will speed up the ripening process of your tomatoes.
  • If you grow your own tomatoes, learn when to plant tomatoes for healthy produce.

The Bottom Line

Tomatoes are delicious when you know what to do with them. Because tomatoes are highly perishable, knowing how to store them is key to enjoying their benefits. With tomatoes, as long as they are frozen or refrigerated, they will be edible. However, be careful because tomatoes in any form will stain your clothes.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.