Tomatoes have become a staple in our homes and kitchens long ago. These red veggies are used in all kinds of meals due to their versatile nature, and of course, people once managed to find a way to keep them longer by canning them.
But did that affect their lifespan? How long do tomatoes normally last? How can we spot the vegs that are about to spoil? What can be done to extend their durability?
All these questions will be answered in detail below.
How Long Do Tomatoes Last?
Fresh tomatoes will usually not survive for more than fourteen days, but things are not so simple about their durability.
To begin with, let us refresh the basic nuances and specifics of this fruit (yes, tomato is technically a fruit!) to be able to understand why certain factors can influence its lifespan in our kitchens and how it all works.
Tomato is a rather watery foodstuff, and, despite a lot of different species of this fruit exist, all of them have to be stocked under similar conditions. Moreover, tomatoes tend to decay the same way the veggies do being influenced by the same external factors, and fortunately, it is pretty obvious when they get spoiled.
Fresh tomatoes will not stay edible all year round, unfortunately, and they will definitely not live long if left out not chilled. The reason is because of the impact of the factors that lead to spoilage of other fresh veggies under the same conditions. Those factors are well-known by everyone: they are oxygen, moisture, heat, and light.
When being constantly exposed to even one of those, your delicious red fruits will one day get rotten.
The optimal storage conditions for tomatoes will also highly hang upon the stage of their maturity:
- Picked at the mature green, they have to be stocked at 66 F to 70 F with the relative humidity of 90-95% to encourage the uniform ripening. Also, green fruit is cold-sensitive and may develop injuries if stocked at 55 F or lower.
- Red tomatoes, on the other hand, can be safely kept at 50 F. However, this can lead to the decay of flavor and aroma compared to the storage conditions of 55 F.
What about the durability of their lifespan under different conditions, somebody may ask?
Well, check out the chart below to see and compare the distinctions of tomato storage in all the places they can be stocked.
How long do tomatoes last | Freezer | Counter | Room Temperature and Canned?
|Storage place||Storage duration|
|Shelf life in the fridge||2 weeks|
|Shelf life in the freezer||up to 12 months|
|Shelf life at room temperature||up to 6 months|
|The shelf life of canned tomatoes||up to 18 months|
How Long Do Tomatoes Last In The Fridge?
When being treated correctly, they can easily stay edible for fourteen days. However, we would not recommend trying to consume them if tomatoes were refrigerated beyond that term since the result can be unsatisfying or even harmful to your stomach state!
Now let us take a closer look at all storage aspects in detail. Since the optimal way to make these fruits last longer is to toss tomatoes into the fridge, we will start from this approach.
As we already mentioned before, this fruit is rather sensitive to cold, that is why proper refrigeration can really prolong the life of the foodstuff whereas the wrong treatment may have completely opposite effect.
- To do everything right, simply find a hermetic tank and place the whole ripe tomatoes inside.
- Do not wash them to avoid the appearance of mold and prevent spoilage development.
- Avoid using thin plastic covers or packets for refrigeration since they will easily let external odors inside the package that may not have a positive effect on the content.
- Keep tomatoes away from poultry, seafood, and other edible flesh, and always keep the fruit on the shelf above. It will prevent the meaty juice from dripping over the tomatoes and contaminating them.
- Cut tomatoes must be refrigerated within two hours after they were sliced. As for the way of packaging, feel free to decide between either a plastic wrap, a plastic tank, or a cold-resistant packet.
When stored like this, tomatoes will stay fine for up to two weeks effortlessly.
How Long Do Cooked Tomatoes Last?
The general term of storage is between three and five days.
Being aware that tomatoes are so sensitive and don’t last long, people often wonder how to deal with them if they are cooked. Indeed, we consume this foodstuff not only raw but also roasted in the oven or fried. But what if thermal procession might shorten the foodstuff’s lifespan?
Relax, tomatoes are not so easy to knock off! And if you cooked some for dinner but still have pretty much of them left, cool them down, remove the cooked foodstuff into a shallow hermetic tank (mason jar will also be fine) or a cold-resistant packet, and seal.
The best will be to stock cooked tomatoes with their juice (if there is any) to provide them with the necessary moisture and exclude the chance of drying.
How Long Do Fresh Tomatoes Last In The Freezer?
Frosting camera is a well-known place for extending the foodstuff’s lifespan and preserving its quality. Tomatoes are not an exception since frosting can helpt hem stay edible for up to six months. Nevertheless, we must keep in mind that they will retain the highest quality for nearly ninety days only. Further freezing will anyway affect the flavor making it deteriorate.
By the way, these fruits have no complications about freezing them, so this is an ideal option for preservation.
How can this be done? Fortunately, this fruit needs no special pre-treatment:
- Wash the ripe tomatoes and dry. No moisture must be left on their surface to exclude the risk of freezer burn!
- Place them on a tray leaving enough space between each of them, and slide into the frosting camera.
- Once all are solidified, transfer them to the tank they will be preserved in, and freeze.
And remember that defrosted fresh tomatoes will get softer due to the cell breakage, so they will be only useful for cooking, but not for consuming them raw.
The Shelf Life Of Cooked Tomatoes In The Freezer
The good news about preserving tomatoes is that even thermally processed ones can be successfully preserved in a frosting camera!
If you have a batch of roasted foodstuff left and it is obvious that all of them will not be consumed in time, it is better to preserve the goodies for the future use.
Freeze cooked tomatoes either in hermetic frost-resistant shallow tanks or in the special thick packets meant for freezing. If the dish has any juice, let it be as well since it will provide the foodstuff with the necessary moisture and save it from over-freezing.
Like that, the thermally processed tomatoes will safely stay consumable for nearly one year, from ten to twelve months, to be precise. During this term, their quality will be of the best, however, the preserved goodie can still be utilized even past that date.
How Long Do Tomatoes Last On The Counter?
The answer will hang upon whether we mean ripe or canned foodstuff. Depending on that fact, the duration may vary from a couple of days to several months.
Everyone knows that veggies and fruits don’t stay well long when left out. With tomatoes, it is all the same. Raw fruit can be safely left out for a maximum of two days, otherwise, it will start decaying after that and can become harmful to eat.
However, canned foodstuff is way more durable, and it is able to sit out unopened from twelve to eighteen months with no harm to its quality!
How To Extend The Shelf Life Of Tomatoes
Tomatoes, no matter whether they are ripe, canned, or thermally processed, are very delicious and healthy, so no wonder we would like to enjoy them longer.
Of course, pre-canned foodstuff is already rather durable, but what if we have lots of these goodies raw? In fact, several methods can be applied to prolong their lifespan:
For this method, boil some water, and immerse a bunch of fruits inside for a couple of minutes. After taking them out, let your tomatoes cool and peel them.
Stock refrigerated blanched tomatoes in a hermetic sterilized glass jar with a dash of salt.
Probably, the simplest way of extending the tomatoes lifespan is turning them into puree.
We will need to delete the stems, cut the fruits, and pressure cook them for two or three whistles.
Once ready, let them cool and blend into an even mass. The mash must be strained so that only the puree out of the pulp remains. This mash then has to be thermally processed with a pinch of salt on a medium flame until it thickens.
When refrigerated, such a puree will be fine for up to thirty days.
To succeed in any of these methods, delete the stems always since they will make tomatoes get soggy and too soft.
How Long Do Tomatoes Last At Room Temperature?
The term will hang upon whether they are ripe or canned and can be from several days to several months.
Fresh fuits will stay edible for about a week if they are fully ripe. Nevertheless, consider that certain sorts of tomatoes are more durable than others so the term may vary. Also, unripe tomatoes can last for three to five days more.
Canned foodstuff, on the contrary, is way more long-lasting being able to remain consumable for nearly a year and a half if unopened.
No matter whether canned or not, tomatoes must stay away from light and heat.
Keep fresh ones with the stem scars up to let them be red and hard longer. Also, raw tomatoes are better to be placed in a paper packet or a special ripening dome respired.
How Long Do Cut Tomatoes Last?
Cut fruit will have a reduced lifespan of two or three days, all because it is way more predisposed to oxidation having its insides naked.
For this very reason, fresh-cut tomatoes must be refrigerated only: enclose them in a hermetic plastic packet and utilize within a maximum of three days. If left longer, they will degrade.
If the plan is to make use of them much later, freezing is the only option. Like this, cut or chopped tomatoes will prolong their lifespan to sixty days.
For preservation, opt for the hermetic frost-resistant tank or packet, but freezer-friendly foil will also be fine.
How Long Do Grape Tomatoes Last?
Tomatoes basically have approximately the same storage duration, but certain sorts can have it varied.
Grape or cherry tomatoes, for instance, will be consumable for nearly ten days if stocked fresh at 45 to 60 F and the relative humidity of 95%. If stored at 41 F or below, it is better not to expect these tomatoes be available for more than five days, however.
If left out on the counter, however, their lifespan will not be longer than three days, of course, if we keep them away from sun and excessive heat.
And naturally, just like any other tomatoes, these small ones can be frozen. Being preserved in a frosting camera, these baby tomatoes will remain edible for half a year.
How Long Do Dehydrated Tomatoes Last?
Considering the place of storage, dehydrated goodies can last from half a year at room temperture to over a year if placed in a frosting camera.
To stock dry tomatoes, package them in hermetic tanks and then choose where you would like to keep them:
- On the counter/in a pantry
Here such foodstuff must be kept shaded, cooled, and moisture-free at 60-70 F. Under the proper conditions, expect them to stay OK for up to a year.
In both ways, dried tomatoes will still be consumable for nearly eighteen months if kept in a hermetic tightly sealed tank.
How Long Do Canned Tomatoes Last?
Canned foods usually stay consumable way longer compared to the fresh counterpart. Commercially sealed tomatoes sold in cans also have quite a long duration term. If kept under the correct conditions, such a can is able to stay OK unsealed from eighteen to twenty-four months in a pantry!
However, if we open the tank, its durability will decrease to five days if we stick it into the fridge, otherwise, the foodstuff will spoil very quickly.
Canned Tomatoes Cubes Lifespan
Cubed canned tomatoes, as long as being still unopened, can safely remain usable for nearly a year if stocked in a pantry.
However, once we open it, the content must be transfered to the plastic or glass tank and refrigerated for a maximum of one week
Canned Tomatoes Ripen Lifespan
If we make canned tomatoes ourselves and make use of ripe fruits for that, we can expect to have them consumable for up to a year and a half easily in case the tank is left in a pantry.
Nevertheless, once being opened, such foodstuff must be transfered to the fridge and consumed within a week or two.
Canned Tomatoes Whole Lifespan
Canned tomatoes preserved whole have the same term of use as the ripe ones: keep them sealed in a pantry cooled and hidden away from light safely for about eighteen months.
Nevertheless, remember that once opened, the content must be finished as quickly as possible, preferably within fourteen days.
How Long Do Canned Tomatoes Last After Opening?
Even though foods sold in cans are rather durable, their miraculously long lifespan decreases significantly right after opening the tank.
Canned tomatoes, for instance, will stay edible from five to ten days in general after being opened. Also, it is essential to transfer them to another, plastic or glass tank after unsealing the can, otherwise, the original metal package may lead to quicker spoilage.
How to Know if Tomatoes are Bad or Spoiled
Eating spoiled foodstuff is dangerous for our health, but luckily, damaged or bad tomatoes are very simple to recognize!
The soft skin is one of the first signs. If we gently squeeze the fruit, no soft spots must be left on the surface.
Leaking juice is another symptom. If tomatoes start leaking, either cook them or discard.
Any signs of mold mean that the foodstuff must be thrown into the garbage bin. Eating such food can lead to very nasty afetrmath.
Also, if any fruit flies are noticed over the tomatoes, better place the foodstuff into the fridge since those insects can get inside of the fruits.
Methods to Make Tomatoes Last Longer
These red fruits can be stocked for quite a long time if we choose a proper and trustworthy method. To be able to enjoy this healthy foodstuff any time of the year, consider opting for one of the suggested approaches:
Freezing Your Tomatoes
The most popular method that always works. For preserving them this way, remove the stems, wash tomatoes, and remove any moisture left.
Now slice off the top “cap” from where the stem was removed, and make a cross-shaped semi-cit on the other side. It will allow to peel the tomato easier.
Place such prepared tomatoes in a frost-resisytant packet and toss into the frosting camera.
To get pickled, tomatoes will need some brine made of salt, acetum, and sugar since such a liquid prevent bacteria from developing and thus slows down the decay. As an option, spices can be added, for instance, black pepper.
Pickled goodies will stay edible for a week refrigerated but remember to keep it covered properly.
When deciding to make some canned tomatoes, consider that water bath approach is the best one since it is meant for high-acid fruits which tomatoes exactly are. However, pressure-cooking method is also fine.
Now that we shared the basics about storing tomatoes and extending their lifespan, we are sure everyone will manage to enjoy these healthy fruits any time they want.
Frequently Asked Questions
⭐ Why should you not refrigerate tomatoes?
This is a common belief that states refrigeration will kill the flavor and affect the texture. However, in fact, cold will help tomatoes last longer unaffected.
⭐ When should you throw out tomatoes?
Discard them when you see mold, or when they are too soft, darkened, bruised, or leaking.
⭐ What is the best way to preserve fresh tomatoes?
The best options are blanching or canning. Also, freezing can be used but defrosted tomatoes can be used only for cooking.
⭐ What are the side effects of eating tomatoes?
When consumed excessively, tomatoes can lead to diarrhea, kidney problems, and even body pains.
⭐ Is it OK to eat over-ripe tomatoes?
It is OK to eat them if they’re not spoiled, of course, but you’ll probably not want to do that since such tomatoes look not appetizing.
⭐ How long can you keep fresh tomatoes in the freezer?
The optimal term is six months.
⭐ How do you store tomatoes long term?
Freezing or canning are the optimal variants.