Stop Tomato Cruelty!

Tis the season to revel in the juices of all kinds of fresh fruits dripping down your chin. Nothing can clear a bad mood like an exquisite summer tomato. And in the interest of keeping these delectable delights alive longer, I have always kept them in the fridge. But recently, there has been a whole spate of news stories about the evils of refrigeration on fruit. Is there anything to it, or is this a conspiracy to force us into buying new fruit every other day? investigated. For a lot more on the subject, click on this link.SEXPAND

Seriously, folks, you need to stop refrigerating your tomatoesIf you must refrigerate, then do it like this

Ideally, tomatoes should be kept out at room temperature. But, if you must refrigerate them, there’s still a few things you can do to minimize the damage. The simplest method is, of course, eating them cooked instead of fresh. Tomatoes stuck in the fridge for a week might not suit a salad, but they’re still a delightful addition to a sauce, a soup, or a curry.

Intriguingly, there’s also some evidence that the damage done by refrigeration could be reversible, at least in part. In the volatiles study, researchers found that, even after up to 6 days in the fridge, spending 24 hours out on the counter at room temperature was enough to kick at least some of the tomato’s aroma producing compounds back into gear (though never quite back to their original levels). So, if refrigerating your tomatoes is a must, you might try letting them spend a day out on the counter to see if they re-coup some of their original flavor.

There’s also one other potential solution out on the horizon, though it’s probably pretty far away. Most of the currently available varieties of tomatoes are very sensitive to the cold. There are, however, other varieties out there that could conceivably fill the gap for a refrigeration-resistant tomato if not now, then sometime in the future. “We are looking for varieties that are resistant to chilling injuries by exploring the wild [tomato] relatives that live high in the Andes mountains,” Klee says. “But that’s a very long process.”

In the meantime, though, the best, easiest, and most delicious, fix might just be to start storing your tomatoes out on the kitchen counter in the first place.