When Do Tomatoes Go Bad?

Tomatoes may be included in a variety of recipes and also make a healthy snack between meals. However, a tomato, like other fruits and vegetables, has a limited shelf life, and it is not advisable to eat the tomato or use it in a recipe after this period has passed.

To avoid getting sick, it is important to thoroughly inspect the inside and outside of a tomato for signs that it has gone bad before consuming it.

How To Know If A Tomato Has Gone Bad

Here are several warning indicators to look for when determining whether a tomato is bad:

1 – Color. If the tomato is not the customary solid red, or if there is some discoloration, it is preferable to toss it.

2 – Cracks, mold patches, or any surface damage. These are unequivocal symptoms that your tomato has gone rotten.

3 – Lack of firmness. When you’re preparing to buy your tomatoes from the market, make sure to give them a soft grip but don’t squeeze them. If the tomatoes sink in when you grab them, they are spoiled.

4 – Leakage. This suggests they should be used right away or discarded.

5 – Mold. This is a solid sign that the tomato has outlived its usefulness and should be thrown promptly.

6 – Smell. If it emits a rotting, bitter, or nasty odor, especially near the stem, discard the tomato right away.

7 – Fruit flies. If you observe fruit flies on your tomato, it is likely rotting. Flies on tomatoes might be very unappealing, but you can avoid them by freezing them.

A Bad Tomato On The Inside

The indicators of a poor tomato are not always visible on the outside, and you may not realize it until you take it home from the store.

This is how you can tell whether a tomato is bad once you cut it open:

  • Feel around a piece of the sliced tomato. If the tomato feels slimy, then it is unsafe to eat and should be discarded.
  • If you find mold spots or discoloration in some areas of the sliced tomato, or if you detect a foul odor, throw the tomato right away.

How To Store Them

Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature until they ripen. After that, you may either leave them on the counter or refrigerate them once they’ve reached their peak. This decision is influenced by how long you require them to last.

While you may have heard that you should never refrigerate tomatoes, this is not always the case. If you do it correctly, your tomatoes will not lose much flavor, and refrigeration will help preserve their freshness for much longer.

Many sources neglect to note that flavor loss from refrigeration is significantly more pronounced in unripe tomatoes than in fully ripe tomatoes. In other words, if you let your tomatoes ripen on the counter before putting them in the fridge, you’ll be fine.

How To Store Unripe Tomatoes

Remove the stems from your unripe tomatoes and keep them at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. It’s still debatable whether you should lay them stem end up or stem end down, but it probably doesn’t make a difference.

In terms of storage, you can keep your tomatoes in a cool pantry or any other location that is somewhat colder than room temperature but warmer than the fridge. This will increase the storage life of your tomatoes and slow the ripening process.

You can leave your tomatoes on the counter or refrigerate them after they’re ripe, which means they’re full of color and yield a bit when gently pressed.

How Should You Store Ripe Tomatoes?

If you opt to leave your ripe tomatoes on the counter, make sure they are kept cool and out of direct sunlight. And keep an eye on them because they can soften and spoil fast.

Place them in the crisper drawer and in a container that allows them to breathe if you choose to refrigerate them. Placing them in a plastic bag with holes or a half-opened freezer bag works great. The same is true for the clamshell containers in which cherry tomatoes are frequently offered. Or cardboard containers with slits wrapped with plastic.

Such packaging retains as much moisture as possible while also allowing the fruit to expel any excess. Tomatoes lose water quickly if there is nothing to hold it, and they become limp and wrinkly.

Allow your tomatoes to come to room temperature before serving. If they’ve been in the fridge, let them sit on the counter for an hour before serving to bring back some of their original flavor.

What Is The Shelf Life Of A Tomato?

The specific answer to that question is dependent on storage conditions; after purchasing, preserve tomatoes in a dry area.

Tomatoes will become fully ripe in 1 to 5 days if properly stored at room temperature. Fully ripe tomatoes will keep in the fridge for 5 to 7 days.

Can You Freeze Raw Tomatoes?

Yes. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Wash and pat dry tomatoes.
  • Leave skins on or, if desired, peel tomatoes by dipping in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skins.
  • Leave tomatoes whole or cut into pieces.
  • Freeze tomatoes in a single layer on a cookie tray.
  • Once frozen, transfer to airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags and return to freezer.

Extra Tip

When frozen tomatoes are thawed, they become mushy and are best when used in cooked meals.

How To Keep Cut Tomatoes Fresh

If you’re chopping tomatoes for a burger and won’t be using the entire fruit, try storing them in the refrigerator.

Here’s how to keep chopped tomatoes fresh for as long as possible:

  • Place the sliced tomatoes in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerate it at a temperature of roughly 55°F. Make sure not to place them in the coldest area of the fridge.
  • Tomatoes should be consumed within two to three days.

How Long Do Frozen Tomatoes Last?

They will keep their finest quality for around 3 months if properly stored, but they will be safe to consume for much longer.

How To Choose Tomatoes At The Store

  • Choose tomatoes or cherry tomatoes with vibrant, well-colored skin. One of the markers of ripeness is the full color. If the tomatoes aren’t quite ready, for example, they’re light pink or reddish, they’ll need a few more days to ripen.
  • Under mild pressure, yield slightly, just like you would with a mango. Also, as you release the pressure, the skin should return to its original state, without any changes or deformities.
  • The tomato should not have any wrinkles, bruises, or dark stains. In other words, the fruit has to appear completely healthy on the outside.
  • They should be brilliant green and flexible if linked to vines. It’s similar to picking grapes, we want healthy-looking vines, not dark ones that are dry and break quickly. However, the firmness and color of the fruit are far more essential than the quality of the vine.


If you buy yellow tomatoes, be sure they’re just yellow, not golden yellow or yellow-turning-orange. The latter frequently suggest that the tomatoes are overripe.

Final Thoughts

If you suspect a tomato is spoiled or rotten, simply throw it away. Consuming rotten tomatoes might result in serious sickness. So, if you are unsure about the quality of the tomatoes you have, throwing them away is the safest option.