Tomatoes Getty 5/11/20

Who doesn’t love a fresh, plump, juicy tomato? The problem with ripe fruits is they don’t stay that way for long. You can make the most of tomato season by storing them properly on the counter or in the fridge. You can also freeze them if you don’t plan to use them anytime soon. Here’s how:

How Long Do Tomatoes Last? 

Cooking dinner shouldn't be complicated

Heirloom Tomatoes Getty 5/11/20

How long ripe tomatoes last depends on how you store them. 

  • On the counter, they stay good for about a week
  • You can double your tomato’s shelf life to two weeks by storing it in the refrigerator. 
  • They’ll stay good for about two to three months in the freezer. 

You’ll know your tomatoes are going bad when they become very soft (perfectly ripe tomatoes should be slightly firm) or are leaking juice. If they’re really past their prime, they’ll begin to mold. 

Related: 60 Fresh Tomato Recipes For Summer

How to Store Tomatoes

Tomatoes in paper bag Getty 5/11/20

Store unripe, green tomatoes at room temperature until they’re fully ripe. You can speed up the process by sticking them in a breathable container, like a brown paper bag. This traps ethylene, a hormone that fruits naturally produce, and encourages ripening. 

What about once they’re fully ripe? Either use them immediately (this is your best bet for perfect flavor and texture) or into the fridge they go. Storing them in a tightly sealed container before refrigeration will help keep them plump and juicy. Let refrigerated tomatoes come to room temperature before using. 

Note: These tips only apply to whole tomatoes—cut fruits are a different story. If you’ve used only half the tomato, store the other half in a sealed storage container in the fridge for two to three days. For best results, place the cut side down on a paper towel to absorb moisture. 

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Can You Freeze Tomatoes? 

Frozen Tomatoes Getty 5/11/20

Yes! Frozen tomatoes probably shouldn’t be used in recipes that call for fresh ones because freezing will definitely change how they taste and feel in your mouth. 

However, freezing tomatoes is definitely a better option than throwing your excess fruits away. You can thaw them and use them a couple months down the road to make delicious sauces, soups, and stews. 

How to Freeze Tomatoes

  1. Optional: You don’t have to blanch tomatoes before freezing (unlike other fruits and veggies that must be blanched), but you can if you want. Blanching stops enzymes that cause spoilage and helps retain nutrients. To blanch, just drop whole tomatoes in a pot of boiling water and let them sit for about one minute. Immediately move tomatoes to an ice bath. Tip: A slotted spoon makes transferring easier. 
  2. Wash, completely dry, and core the tomatoes. 
  3. Arrange tomatoes in a zip-top bag so they can lay flat in the freezer. Remove as much excess air as you can, seal that sucker up, then store in the freezer for two to three months. It’s as simple as that! They’ll technically be safe to eat after the three month mark, but flavor and texture will be greatly impacted. Tip: You may want to label the bag with the date so you don’t forget when you froze the tomatoes. 

How to Thaw Tomatoes

Simply set the frozen tomatoes on the counter and allow them to come to room temperature. You can speed up the process by running them under warm water. 

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