Should you refrigerate tomatoes?

Should you? You shouldn't right? But what about those reputable articles that say "DO IT!" http://www.seriouseats.... Or it is false, and we should just listen to our hearts, and Alton? I know season is at a close and it's cruel to bring up, but I'm so tired of arguing about this with my friends and relatives.

  • Posted by: K.Mihalo
  • September 16, 2015


Kristen W. September 19, 2015
No, I don't stem or peel before freezing. Freezing them is actually a good method for peeling tomatoes; when they thaw the skin slips right off.
boulangere September 18, 2015
No. Let the produce section of your grocery store be your guide. If something is not refrigerated there, it should not be at home. That said, the store's turnover is likely significantly greater than yours at home. Purchase a sane amount that your can consume within, say, 3 to 4 days.
K.Mihalo September 18, 2015
My local grocery store is amazing, but out of season, I just never buy. Your advice is solid. The bad news is that I live with one other person, and I'm a lunatic at buying beautiful produce. It's an exercise in self-control, right? We can't eat Merrill's salad every day right? (Or can we?) Thank you!
Cav September 18, 2015
After reading the Serious Eats article, I experimented with my garden San Marzano and Sungolds. Absolutely no discernible difference. Longer preservation time, no fruit flies, no counter top being taken up with tomatoes.
K.Mihalo September 18, 2015
Wow! I think if I had my own garden, I'd be more courageous. There's something about special farmers market haul that makes you overly protective. I promise I'll try it someday! Thank you!
HalfPint September 18, 2015
Serious Eats did an experiment with tomato storage and they found that the better tasting tomatoes were the ones that were refrigerated,
bamcnamara September 18, 2015
usually my answer would be no. But I had a case of fruit flies this summer so I am reluctant. I usually take them out an hour or two before serving. Good luck!
K.Mihalo September 18, 2015
Thanks for your positive answer!
Lindsay-Jean H. September 17, 2015
I was always in the never ever refrigerate camp too, but Harold McGee has convinced me that refrigeration is okay for fully ripe tomatoes, if you allow time for them to return to room temperature before eating:
Susan W. September 18, 2015
Yep. He convinced me to try it and it's absolutely true.
K.Mihalo September 18, 2015
If we were in distance of each other, we'd high-five. Harold McGee man.... He's our Bill Nye of Food.
Susan W. September 18, 2015
K.Mihalo, definitely high five. Okay to wash mushrooms in water, ok to refrigerate tomatoes. Life just gets better and better.
Charlie S. September 17, 2015
No, it demonstrably ruins the flavor.
Kristen W. September 17, 2015
I don't refrigerate, unless they're cut. If they're whole and getting past their prime, I freeze them for later use in cooked preparations.
K.Mihalo September 18, 2015
Do you stem them or peel them before freezing? I've never frozen and I've always wondered.
inpatskitchen September 16, 2015
I leave them outside with the stem side down and use them as they ripen more ( and pray that the squirrels don't take a bite!).
K.Mihalo September 18, 2015
My mom will pull whole branches down and leave them in snow sleds in her house until the minute it's time to say goodbye. Ripen or die trying right?
Susan W. September 16, 2015
Rarely, but if I have a choice of it going beyond okay, I do. It's usually a cut tomato that this happens to. I also will chill cherry tomatoes that are heading for a salad on a hot night because I love the cold explosion when they pop.
K.Mihalo September 18, 2015
I love the imagery here! Thanks for the great response!
702551 September 16, 2015
I don't.

I leave them out on the counter and will give them a visual inspection almost every day. The ones whose quality level has peaked I use first, either cooked or fresh.

I typically buy enough tomatoes at the farmers market to last me for a week and usually there are a couple on the counter/kitchen table on market day.

Rarely do I feel that I need to refrigerate a tomato (unless it's a partial tomato). I have noted that much of the flavor does return with ample time to return to room temperature.

Some people are perfectly happy eating a tomato that was picked two weeks ago, spent ten days in the wholesale produce distribution process, and three days in the grocery store refrigerated produce case.

It's not like it's a major investment for you to experiment and decide for yourself if you prefer tomatoes stored on the counter or in your fridge.

In the end, it's up to you. After all, you have to eat it.

Voted the Best Reply!

C S. September 18, 2015
I don't think it is a debate with a right or wrong answer. I think it is a discussion with the questioner asking the rest of the hotline regulars to weigh in with their thoughts. This is a group that is concerned about tasty and nutritious food with a lot of collective experience. Different opinions can be both instructive and interesting.

I don't think anyone of us considers these to be life altering questions but rather a chance to learn from each other's experience.
PieceOfLayerCake September 16, 2015
K.Mihalo September 18, 2015
I enjoy over-zealous punctuation in every. case. imaginable.
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 16, 2015
This has always been a debate. Follow the advice with a blog/chef you trust and have had consistent results. FWIW - I don't refrigerate.
K.Mihalo September 16, 2015
I don't either; I just needed to ask my most trusted community so if it comes up again I can say "Food52 says no thank you." Because who can argue with that?
702551 September 17, 2015
I don't understand why this is such a debate. Just do the experiment yourself and decide for yourself.

As I've said in other conversations, some people are happy with plastic box supermarket sushi that was prepared 2-3 days ago. Others won't touch sushi that isn't made in front of their eyes.

This is a judgment call by the consumer.

Hell, there are people who think In-n-Out Burger is great.

Just run the experiment yourself with a couple of tomatoes and decide for yourself.

It's not like you have to sell the farm, take out a second mortgage or give up your first-born child to figure this out.
PieceOfLayerCake September 18, 2015
702551 September 18, 2015
LOL, you really don't get it, do you?

What is a tomato worth? A quarter? Sure, you can ask ten thousand people about what they think, but ultimately it comes down what YOU think.

This is a great example of how the Internet fails in certain situations.

So funny.
Susan W. September 18, 2015
CV, this is a discussion forum. We are discussing. You often complain about the discussions, the internet in general and people who think differently than you do.
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