Should tomatoes be stored in the fridge?

It’s a topic of ongoing debate – should tomatoes be kept in the fridge or on the kitchen counter?

Well, according to a team of German researchers, the variety of the tomato is much more important when it comes to flavour than the mode of storage.

a close up of a tomato

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“It is the variety of tomato, in particular, that has an important influence on the flavour. Therefore, the development of new varieties with an appealing flavour can be a step towards improving the flavour quality of tomatoes,” said lead author Larissa Kanski of the University of Gottingen, while Professor Elke Pawelzik added: “The shorter the storage period, the better it is for the flavour and related attributes. However, we were able to show that, taking into account the entire post-harvest chain, short-term storage of ripe tomatoes in the refrigerator did not affect the flavour.”

For the study, the scientists sought to discover whether or not the flavour changes when ripe, picked tomatoes go through a commercial post-harvest chain and are then stored either in the refrigerator at seven degrees Celsius or at room temperature, around 20 degrees Celsius.

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They then drew on the expertise of a “sensory panel” that consisted of experienced and trained assessors who use their senses to perceive and evaluate the sensory properties of products.

“Among other attributes, this panel examined the discernible sweetness, acidity, and juiciness of tomatoes. No significant differences in flavour were found between the two storage options when the entire post-harvest chain is taken into account,” the authors added.

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