Last Updated: August 22, 2022

How Long Do Tomatoes Last? Everything You Need To Know

how long do tomatoes last

Tomatoes are the most misunderstood fruit of them all. Yes, they are fruits and not vegetables, even though they are treated as vegetables in many parts of the world. These red plump umami bombs are loved and adored by everyone.

Today, you will learn about:

How Long Do Tomatoes Last

Short Answer: Unripe tomatoes take 2-4 days to ripe depending on the weather, room temperature, humidity, and light. After that, they can last for another 3-4 days maximum outside of the fridge to ripen completely. Once fully ripe, they will last 4-6 days outside the fridge and up to 2 weeks if refrigerated.

But that is a generalized answer. In reality, how long do tomatoes last depends on a few key factors :

  • Time that is taken to reach you.
  • The weather and climate.
  • The amount of light at your home.
  • Quality of the tomatoes.
  • How you are storing tomatoes.

Now that you know what factors to look out for let us see how you can tell if your tomatoes are good.

Topics discussed in this article:

  • Identifying  bad tomatoes
  • Identifying the ripeness of tomatoes
  • Selecting the best tomatoes
  • Storing methods for ripe and unripe tomatoes
  • Answering some frequently asked question
  • Final words 

How To Tell If Your Tomatoes Have Gone Bad?

Tomatoes have very clear signs if they have gone bad or will go bad very soon. Some signs are:

  • They are too soft
  • There are visible cracks or damage.
  • It’s oozing liquids.
  • Mold on the outside.
  • Weird smell

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Only pick the fresh and healthy tomatoes for storage; never keep any bad or rotting tomatoes with good ones because even one rotting tomato is enough to ruin all the others in the storage they are in contact with. Discard any tomato that has even one of the signs mentioned above.

The shelf life of a tomato depends entirely on how you store tomatoes, so let us take a look at how to do so 

How To Store Tomatoes

You probably have heard that you should never refrigerate tomatoes. People say that because they often tend to lose flavor, texture, and quality when you refrigerate tomatoes, but that only happens when you don’t do it properly. We are here to show you how to store them properly and effectively.

To store tomatoes properly, you need to assess them and divide them up based on their ripeness because the storing methods for ripe and unripe tomatoes are drastically different. And how long they will last depends on how you store your tomatoes.

Things You Will Need:

  • A sharp knife
  • A tray
  • Plastic bags or zip lock bags
  • Brown paper bags or grocery store bags
  • A nice cold dark spot

Storing Unripe Tomatoes:

Unripe tomatoes don’t need to be refrigerated. They can be kept on your kitchen countertop or even in your pantry. But they should not be stacked one on top of the other. Using a tray or basket would be best. There is a myth about keeping tomatoes stem side down. But if you cut off the stems with a knife, you won’t need to do that, plus it will help your tomatoes stay fresh longer.

man picking up the unripe tomatoes
Image credit: Northerner, Shutterstock

Once your tomatoes become ripe, you can store them inside the refrigerator. Let’s see how.

Storing Ripe Tomatoes:

Ripe tomatoes can be refrigerated, but only if it is done properly. They can be placed directly inside the refrigerator but try to keep them on the top shelf or the stay crisp shelf or drawer. Place the tomatoes in a plastic bag or even a grocery brown bag, but remember not to seal the bag completely

tips icon Tip : You should leave the bag open so that excess moisture can escape. It will help the tomatoes stay fresh for an extended period.

Now that you know how to store tomatoes, let’s take a look at how to tell if they are ripe or not.

How To Identify Ripeness In Tomatoes

How long tomatoes last will depend on what stage of ripeness they are at. Let’s take a look at how to identify tomatoes.

Signs of Unripe Tomatoes:

  • Green or greenish color.
  • Does not give in when you tap them gently
  • A bit hard on the outside.

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Signs of Ripe Tomatoes:

  • Red or reddish color.
  • Soft to touch, but the skin should be tight.
  • Exteriors should be soft but not too soft as that is a sign of rotting.

Now that you know how to identify tomatoes, there is one last thing we believe you should know. And that is how to buy the best tomatoes. Let’s see how:

How To Buy The Best Tomatoes

Vibrant colors: Whether red or green, the colors should be bright and popping. Dull colors are a sign of old tomatoes.

Tight skins: The skin should be tight and not lose. Loose skin and wrinkles are signs of mold and rotting tomatoes.

No external damages: Fresh tomatoes will never have bumps, dents, holes, or cracks on their bodies and surfaces. The skin should be intact.

Firm to pressure: Fresh tomatoes will be firm even when you tap them gently and give in slightly but return to their original state.

ripe tomatoes in the store
Image credit: Olena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock


How long do Cherry/Grape tomatoes last?

Cherry/Grape tomatoes last for 4-6 days without a fridge and up to 2 weeks inside the fridge.

What To Look For In Yellow Tomatoes?

Yellow tomatoes should be pure yellow. Not yellow turning into red or orange etc. It’s a sign of either rotting or over-ripening.

Can You Freeze Tomatoes?

Yes, but you should not freeze tomatoes as it reduces their quality and ruins the texture of tomatoes.

How Do You Make Unripe Tomatoes Ripen Fast?

Keep the unripe ones in a paper bag and close the bag. Leave it on top of your kitchen counter for a day or two, and they should ripen very fast.

How To Eat Refrigerated Tomatoes?

Take the tomatoes out of the fridge. Let them sit around for about an hour and reach room temperature. Consume them afterward.

How can I store cooked tomatoes?

Cooked tomatoes can be stored inside the fridge and as well as the freezer.

How Long Do Cooked Tomatoes Last?

This depends on your cooking process. But things like sauces, soups, etc., can stay good for up to a year inside the freezer.

Final Words

Whether you think it is a fruit or a vegetable, we all can agree that tomatoes are amazing. They are not only tasty but also healthy for us. They are packed with vitamins and minerals essential for us. Some of our favorite food and condiments are made from tomatoes. Tomato-flavored snacks are also enjoyed all over the world. 

Now that you know how long they last and other vital information and tips, I hope that I was able to help you with your tomato storage problems; enjoy your tomatoes, and don’t forget to share recipes with me!

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