BI Answers: Should you refrigerate tomatoes?
“Definitely no,” says Catherine Renard, a senior researcher at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research. Renard was the lead author of a study that tested the impact of storage conditions on tomatoes.
Tomatoes don’t fare well in temperatures under 50 degrees F, says Renard. The average temperature of a home refrigerator is around 40 degrees F. From farm to supermarket, tomatoes should be stored around 53 degree F, says Renard.
Refrigerating a tomato affects the smell and texture. The tomato loses its characteristic grassy fragrance and the flesh can become grainy, says Renard. Refrigeration, however, does not change the sugar content or acidity.
At home, the recommended way to story a tomato is to put it in a cool place, and one that’s not necessarily dark, says Renard.
“In my experience, standard red tomatoes can be stored reliably for 1 week in a ‘normal’ kitchen or with air-conditioning between 68 degrees F and 73 degrees F,” says Renard.
This post is part of a continuing series that answers all of your “why” questions related to science. Have your own question? Email [email protected] with the subject line “Q&A”; tweet your question to @BI_Science; or post to our Facebook page.
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