What Signs Show Tomatoes Have Gone Bad-6 Steps

What Signs Show Tomatoes Have Gone Bad-6 Steps

Tomatoes are a juicy and refreshing fruit. When used in recipes, they are primarily used as a vegetable, but because they start with flowers and contain seeds, they are actually identified as a fruit. Of course, they’re delicious. While most of us probably buy canned varieties more often, there are some benefits to taking the time to make homemade tomato dressing from fresh tomatoes, or to add some nice big juicy tomato slices straight into your salad. However you want to use them, you should still strengthen your knowledge of how to store tomatoes to get the most out of them. In this passage, you will see how to store tomatoes, how long do tomatoes last, how to tell when tomatoes have gone bad and other questions you may be interested.

How Long Do Tomatoes Last?

The shelf life of tomatoes depends on several factors. These factors include when they are harvested and when they are purchased.

Now, let’s see how long certain types of tomatoes will keep at room temperature and when stored in the refrigerator.

Type of tomatoStored at room temperatureStored in a refrigerator
Canned tomatoesOne year to 18 months if it has not been openedSeven days if it has been opened
Ripe tomatoes7-10 days5-10 days
Unripe tomatoes9-15 days depending on how unripe it isFreezing will speed up the rate of ripening
Fresh tomatoesOne weekTwo weeks

How to Tell When Tomatoes Have Gone Bad?

Before you start slicing tomatoes to make homemade hot sauce or tomato sandwiches, you want to make sure your tomatoes are healthy and not going bad. The best way to know if your tomatoes are going bad is to check them first. You have to pick them up, look at them, touch them, smell them. If something looks, feels, or smells wrong with your tomato, then you want to throw it away. Here are some signs to look for when checking if a tomato is bad:

  1. Color: If it is not the usual solid red color, or if you notice some discoloration, it is best to throw away such tomatoes.
  2. Cracks or any damage to the surface: These are all signs of spoiled tomatoes.
  3. Leakage: This means they should be used immediately, or you should discard them.
  4. Mold: This is a clear sign that it has passed its use-by date and should be discarded immediately.
  5. Odor: If it produces a putrid, bitter or foul odor, especially near the stem, discard the tomatoes immediately.
  6. Fruit flies: If you see fruit flies on your tomatoes, it may be bad. Flies on tomatoes are really annoying, but you can avoid this by keeping them in the refrigerator.

Or you can take the simpler three-step:

  1. Look: The most reliable sign that a tomato is spoiled is mold. This mold looks like dark green or black spots on the skin of the tomato, and a fuzzier white spot. If the skin shows signs of wrinkling, the skin is also bad. Bad tomatoes also tend to leak liquid. If you pick up a tomato and notice liquid underneath, it’s bad.
  2. Feel: If a tomato becomes soft or mushy when gently squeezed, it has gone bad.
  3. Smell: If you notice that a tomato gives off a bitter or rotten taste, then it has gone bad.

How to Store Tomatoes?

Summer brings an abundance of fresh tomatoes, from gardens or markets (if you’re lucky, a neighbor’s garden). However, fully ripe tomatoes can go bad quickly if not stored properly. But there are steps you can take to ensure that they last as long as possible.

Unripe: A room-temperature countertop or cooler pantry is the best place to ripen tomatoes. Unripe tomatoes are usually green or have patches of green skin on them. They will also be hard when lightly squeezed.

Ripe: If you have a lot of ripe tomatoes that you don’t plan to use for a while, you can freeze them. To do this, first, wash and pat them dry. Then, place them on a baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch each other, and put them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container.

How to Tell When Tomatoes Have Gone Bad

Final Thoughts

In short, if you store them properly, tomatoes will stay fresh for about a week. The three parts of determining whether a tomato is good or bad are: look, touch, and smell. I believe you can make delicious food with tomatoes!


Now that you know how to tell if a tomato is bad and the best way to store ripe and unripe tomatoes, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have!

What Are 3 Things You Should Look for When Choosing a Tomato?

Tomatoes picked before they are fully ripe have a crisper flavor and thicker texture. You should touch an heirloom tomato to determine if it is ripe. Ripe heirloom tomatoes can be small, large, chunky, green, or even purple.

Are Bruised Tomatoes OK to Eat?

Bruising may cause color changes and tissue may feel softer or even stickier as a result, but this does not mean the fruit should not be consumed at this point in time. The bruise is only unsightly and does not pose any threat to the patient’s health in any way.

What Can I Do With Over-ripe Tomatoes?

By baking a tray full of vine or heirloom tomatoes, you can create a delectable side dish. Alternatively, you can bake tomatoes in pies or Calais by sprinkling sliced tomatoes over a pastry base. In place of canned diced tomatoes in recipes that call for them, overripe tomatoes can be used to make chutneys, preserves, and other homemade condiments.

Can You Cut the Moldy Part of the Tomato and Eat the Rest?

The USDA suggests that throwing away whole moldy tomatoes is a good way to go because soft-fleshed fruits and vegetables like tomatoes are more susceptible to mold penetration. Even if you cut off the moldy part of the tomato, it may still contain tiny mold that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Mold has long, thread-like roots that can easily penetrate the delicate skin and flesh of tomatoes.

When Should You Not Eat Tomatoes?

If you suspect that your tomato has gone bad in any way then you should not eat it. Look it over, feel it and smell it to make sure that it is healthy.

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