Do Grape Tomatoes Need To Be Refrigerated?

Ideal Storage Conditions for Grape Tomatoes

Do Grape Tomatoes Need To Be Refrigerated?

Tomatoes are juicy and tangy, hitting their prime in the heat of summer, but available just about anywhere throughout the year in the U.S.

With the rising cost of vegetables, it’s understandable that people are going out of their way to preserve food a little longer rather than tossing it out. This desire has many of them asking, “Do grape tomatoes need to be refrigerated?”

You can extend the life of any fruits and vegetables by putting them in the fridge. Keep reading to find out if this is true for grape tomatoes and other varieties.

Ideal Storage Conditions for Grape Tomatoes

Before buying grape tomatoes, you should have a clear plan for when you will use them. If you know the answer to the question, “Do grape tomatoes need to be refrigerated?” you can accurately plan when to use them, whether it’s for snacking or in a recipe.

The ideal storage conditions for grape tomatoes are as follows:

  • Between 45 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Room temperature is generally higher than this range, so you’ll want to store them in the coolest area of your home.
  • Relative humidity of 95% (or as close as possible). According to the National Weather Service, relative humidity of just 50% can drive the heat index up 10 or more degrees from the actual temperature. It’s not likely that your home’s humidity will be anywhere close to 95%, but the counter is better than most refrigerators which have controls that keep humidity around 30%.
  • Stem-side down to prevent moisture loss. Once the stems are removed, tomatoes begin to deteriorate. Placing them upside down helps the tomatoes to retain moisture, and it can also help them finish ripening evenly.

Kept in ideal conditions, grape tomatoes can be preserved for about 10 days on your kitchen counter.

Should You Refrigerate Grape Tomatoes?

Refrigeration extends the shelf life of many foods. It’s even required for some, but fruits and vegetables can be tricky.

So, do grape tomatoes need to be refrigerated? According to the ideal storage conditions above, your refrigerator is too cold for optimal tomato storage. Your fridge should be kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but not too far below to keep from freezing its contents. Lower humidity inside the fridge also contributes to faster deterioration.

If you come home from the grocery store and put your tomatoes straight into the fridge, you may only be able to consume them in their prime condition for about 5 days

With all this said, grape tomatoes are surprisingly resilient compared to larger tomato varieties. You’ll see negative effects of refrigerating a regular-sized tomato sooner than you would with grape tomatoes. Therefore, they can tolerate being refrigerated, but they certainly don’t have to be.

Here’s a good rule of thumb for tomatoes: Leave them at room temperature until you plan to eat them or until they have reached your desired level of ripeness. Then refrigerate them for a few days at most if you haven’t used them yet.

This advice works for many other fruits and vegetables as well. The list of fruits and veggies that you shouldn’t refrigerate is relatively short, including bananas, onions, potatoes and winter squash.

Should You Refrigerate Grape Tomatoes

Freezing Tomatoes

In an effort to preserve more food, save money, and produce less waste, some sources will recommend

freezing fruits and vegetables before they go bad. This can work, but your intended purpose for grape tomatoes will determine whether or not you can freeze them.

Freezing a tomato will stop the ripening process, but they become mealy and hard to use when thawed. That’s okay if you plan to use them in soups, stews, or sauces, but not if you hope to use them on a salad or sandwich.

Store-bought vs. Home-grown Tomatoes

Does it make a difference where your tomatoes came from?

Home-grown or farmers market tomatoes haven’t already been refrigerated, so they are best left on the counter to continue ripening until you’re ready to use them. Getting your tomatoes from these sources makes it easier to buy or harvest them closer to the time that you plan to use them, so you shouldn’t have to refrigerate.

Store-bought have already been refrigerated in an effort to preserve them for shipping and while waiting for purchase. In this case, it’s best to use your discretion. If you leave them at room temperature after you get home, they will be fine for several days. We don’t recommend leaving them out, then re-refrigerating the tomatoes later. The changes in temperature can negatively affect their texture and flavor.

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Personal Preference Matters in Refrigerating Tomatoes

If preserving your grape tomatoes for as long as possible isn’t your primary concern, you have a little more flexibility when it comes to refrigerating grape tomatoes. Some people simply prefer cold tomatoes in certain dishes rather than room temperature ones.

Grape tomatoes are small but flavorful, making them a perfect choice for salads and pastas. As long as you plan to use them within a few days, either storage method is acceptable.

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