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Jun 21, 2009 09:06 PM

Tomatoes- why not refrigerate?

I love home grown tomatoes and am growing them for the first time. People tell me not to refrigerate them though. I love cold tomatoes in salads so can you explain to me why not refrigerate? Does it do something to the texture or the flavor?

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  1. In my experience, refrigerating tomatoes makes the texture grainy and makes it taste like water. I only put a tomato in the refrigerator if I've already sliced and used part of it; whole ones get left out in a bowl. A quick google gave me this from about.com:
    "Refrigeration is the enemy of the tomato as it nullifies flavor and turns the flesh mealy. The culprit is a compound called Z-3 hexenel, which accounts for the tomato's scent and taste. The development process which turns tomato's linolenic acid to the Z-3 that makes our mouth and nose sing is hindered by cold. If you must refrigerate a tomato, take it out about an hour before using it to let it return to room temperature to revive any lurking Z-3."
    If you want cold tomato slices on your salad, I'm sure sticking the tomato in the fridge for an hour before serving won't do too much harm. Just don't store them there.

    1. If you like cold tomatoes, put them in the fridge! Some say they lose their flavor. I have not noticed a tremendous difference. I stick partially eaten tomatoes into the fridge. They are maybe a little rubbery, but I think that is because I may let them sit there too long because I forget about them. You should do what you like! They are yours and you like it that way!!

      1. As a long-time tomato gardener, I confirm that anyone who refridgerates a tomato that has never been refridgerated is ruining a tomato. The intensity and quality of the flavor is damaged irretrievably. I suggest you try the following experiment. Harvest 4 ripe tomatoes, warm from the plant. Taste one. Put one on the kitchen table. Put 2 in the fridge. 5 hours later, take one out of the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature. One hour later, taste and compare the cold tomato, the never refridgerated tomato, and the rewarmed tomato. You will then know what we are talking about.

        By the way, I find that the effect is least noticeable in cherry tomatoes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: therealdoctorlew

          Hmmm.. then the same goes for strawberries. They never taste quite as perfect as they do straight from the plant - hot or not. Same with blue and raspberries.