Vegetables and Fruit forum: Does refrigeration ruin tomatoes?

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Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
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DonShirer
Sep 19, 2016 11:32 AM CST
Several times this summer, picked tomatoes sitting on a counter have developed bad spots after a few days. We have all the frozen tomatoes and sauce our freezer can hold, so I was wondering if temporarily storing them in the refrigerator would prevent the bad spots from appearing before I could deliver them to friends or our weekly food bank. (I can’t leave ripe tomatoes on the vine or the critters will nibble at them.)

I know the conventional wisdom is that refrigeration will ruin a tomato’s taste:
http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2012/05/22/8-foods-y...
But a little internet surfing produced this article:
http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/09/why-you-should-refrigerat...
which seemed reasonable, so I performed a very modest test of my own. I took two similar freshly picked ripe tomatoes from a number of different varieties, stored one of each in a bag on the top (warmest) shelf in the fridge, and the others in a similar bag on the kitchen counter. At mealtimes I extracted one of the same variety from each bag, (letting the cooled ones come to room temperature ~78° this week) and tasted the raw fruit.

In most cases (as listed below) there was very little difference after one or two days in the fridge, and when I followed up by putting salad dressing on each, the difference was even less. So except for those I am going to use immediately, I guess I will use the refrigerator for temporary storage. Now your tastebuds may well be more sensitive than mine, so I recommend that you try a similar test yourself before entrusting your precious toms to the icebox!

Nepal tomato (1 day in the fridge) no difference
Patio tomato (2 days) a little difference
Pink Ping Pong tomato (2days) very little difference
Cherokee Purple tomato (1 day) some difference
Cherokee Purple tomato (2 days) a definite difference
Mountain Fresh tomato (1 day) no difference
Red Pear tomato (2 days) very little difference
SunGold tomato (2 days) some difference
Pineapple tomato (2 days) a little difference
[Last edited by DonShirer - Sep 19, 2016 11:37 AM (+)]
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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Sep 19, 2016 12:13 PM CST
If they need to ripen some, then they should be left out, but if they are ripe then putting them in the fridge should should help keep them a bit longer I'd think.
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Sep 19, 2016 2:20 PM CST
I have put tomatoes in the fridge when they have a crack or split and I need to keep them from going bad. I don't feel it ruins they taste at all.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
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ctcarol
Sep 19, 2016 6:53 PM CST
I can't say I approve, but there are people that LIKE them chilled. Ugh!
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Sep 21, 2016 11:12 AM CST
I put mine.unwashed in a plastic bag in frig. They stay great for better than a week !!!
I like mine cold. They taste better.
I like my hot tomatoes
over noodles !
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Sticking tongue out
southern Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Sep 22, 2016 6:27 AM CST
I have some in the fridge & some on the counter. I prefer the taste of mine at room temp, husband prefers them cold.
Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
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DonShirer
Oct 18, 2016 1:10 PM CST
Here's a reference to a research report that says chilling does hurt tomato flavor, contradicting my test results. It doesn't go into detail such as how long or what temperature, but it does mention that chilling kills the aroma, which may have a big affect on taste with many people.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2109336-heres-why-putti...
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Oct 19, 2016 2:35 PM CST
Interesting.
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Oct 19, 2016 2:49 PM CST
I don't think refrigeration ruins them, but everyone has their preference. I love them room or garden temperature! My husband likes them ice cold. To me they lose flavor if they're too cold.
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