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Does refrigeration ruin tomatoes?

Westbrook, CT(Zone 6a)

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-you-should-not-refrigerate/
But a little internet surfing produced this article:
http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/09/why-you-should-refrigerate-tomatoes.html
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 differences were 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
Mountin Fresh tomato (1 day) no difference
Red Pear tomato (2 day) very little difference
SunGold tomato (2 day) some difference
Pineapple tomato (2 day) a little difference

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

It depends on how stable your storage temperature is, the humidity of the storage and how the fruit is contained as well as the ripeness of the tomato. Some refrigerators compensate opening by temporarily dropping temperatures below ideal settings for fresh produce. If the humidity is low or the fruit is stored open on a shelf it will become mealy especially a thinner skinned variety. If the fruit is under ripe chilling will prevent ripening. My experience for best results is to store at room temperature if able or loosely, in a paper bag, in the fridge.

Olathe, KS(Zone 5a)

I soak tomatoes and fruit in vinegar water for 15 minutes, drain, dry, then put covered in frig - sometimes in vacuum jars. I do not taste any problem with ripe tomatoes in the frig - regardless of so called expert opinion. I can store vacuum packed jar fruits for over a week with no taste difference to me. Any longer and they tend to go bad.

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