18 June 2020

For tasty tomatoes, either the fridge or the counter is OK

A panel of experienced taste-testers found no significant differences between tomatoes kept in the fridge and those stored at room temperature.

  • Plant researchers investigated the difference in taste between tomatoes stored in the fridge and those kept at room temperature
  • Taste-testers found no difference between the two batches
  • What turned out to be more important was how fresh the tomatoes were


How you store your tomatoes doesn't affect the flavour – what really matters is the type of tomato you choose, researchers say.

A team from the University of Göttingen in Germany investigated the differences in flavour of ripe, picked tomatoes when stored in the refrigerator (7 degrees Celsius) and at room temperature (20 degrees C).

A panel of experienced taste-testers who judged the sweetness, acidity and juiciness of the tomatoes found no significant differences between those kept in the fridge and those stored at room temperature.

The variety of tomato played a far bigger part in flavour than storage methods, according to the researchers. The study focused on two varieties of black cherry tomatoes.

Freshness key to flavour

"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," lead author Larissa Kanski said in a university news release. She is a doctoral student in the Division of Quality Plant Products.

Study co-author Elke Pawelzik said freshness is a key to flavour but short-term storage won't hurt.

"The shorter the storage period, the better it is for the flavour and related attributes," said Pawelzik, head of the Division of Quality Plant Products. "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."

Their findings were recently published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.

Image credit: Getty


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