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‘Best’ place to store tomatoes to keep them fresher for longer is not the fridge

Tomatoes can be tricky to keep fresh as most people do not realise they are storing them in the wrong place. 

It may seem obvious to place tomatoes in the fridge with your other fruits or vegetables but this can actually spoil their flavour and texture. 

Emma, a cook and founder of Kitchen Mason explained that tomatoes need to be stored at room temperature to keep them rich and juicy. 

She said: “The best place to store tomatoes is on your kitchen worktop at room temperature. Although keep them away from your oven, or any other heat source.” 

It is also best to store tomatoes in a flat dish rather than a bowl to allow better air circulation and prevent bruising, as they are fragile fruits that can be easily damaged if piled together. 

Why should you not store tomatoes in the fridge? 

Tomatoes should not be stored at cold temperatures as the enzymes which contribute to their taste stop functioning which can lead to bland and flavourless fruit. 

The fridge also halts tomatoes from ripening, which will also affect the taste but can also cause the tomatoes to become mealy and mushy. 

It is best to only store tomatoes in the fridge if they are perfectly ripe, but make sure to leave them on the countertop to bring them to room temperature before eating to ensure you get the best flavour. 

Emma said: “You shouldn’t refrigerate tomatoes unless they’ve been cut.

“However, if your tomatoes are at their perfect ripeness, or the weather is particularly hot – I actually DO recommend that you store your tomatoes in the fridge.

“Refrigeration inhibits a tomatoes natural ripening process. But if it’s already at it’s best, you don’t need to worry about that!”

How to store tomatoes on the countertop 

Once you bring tomatoes home from the supermarket place them on a plate on the countertop away from the oven, stove and anything hot in the kitchen. 

Make sure to remove the vines and stems from the tomatoes as they can draw moisture away from the fruit, so getting rid of them will keep the fruit plumper for longer. 

The key to keeping tomatoes fresh is preventing moisture from leaving the fruit, which is why it is recommended to place the tomatoes upside down with the stem side on the plate to reduce air exposure and evaporation. 

Emma said: “When storing fresh tomatoes at room temperature, store them stem side down. 

“This prevents them from losing moisture as quickly, and they will keep for much longer. A flat dish is better for this than a bowl.” 

Storing tomatoes upside down protects the stem scar from bacteria as it minimises its exposure, reducing the risk of contamination and preventing the tomatoes from spoiling before their time.


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