Tomatoes High or Low Humidity: How Best to Store

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Last Updated on March 16, 2023

Should you store tomatoes in high or low humidity in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life, or where is the right place to keep them?

There is no joy like going to the farmers market or the grocery store and shopping for your week or months-long groceries. However, before you spend a ton of money on these expensive fruits and vegetables, be sure you know how to them fresh for the longest.

Let’s learn the proper humidity of vegetables that will enable us to store our fresh produce in the right place in the refrigerator.

The Refrigerator

A refrigerator has many compartments to store different kinds of foods. The two drawers in the bottom of your refrigerator are called crisper drawers, and they preserve your vegetables. If you want your vegetables and fruits to last long, it matters where you put them.

Most vegetables should go into the high humidity drawer, while most fruits should go into the low humidity.  Of course, there are some exceptions to this, so let’s look into it.

The Refrigerator

Some crisper drawers are labeled fruit and vegetable making it easy to know where to keep your supplies. You can adjust the humidity level of the drawer by moving the slider. The high setting allows the slider to close the window and hold more air and moisture inside. At the same time, a low humidity setting allows the slider to open the window, letting in more air out of the drawer.

So Why Does it Matter: Vegetables Low or High Humidity?

It matters because of ethylene. Ethylene is a plant hormone available in fruits and vegetables. Lots of fruits and vegetables release this hormone as a sign for fruit vegetables to ripen.

Not all vegetables respond to Ethylene the same. For susceptible vegetables, this gas makes them get over-ripe and go bad very fast. For example, suppose you trap an ethylene-sensitive vegetable like lettuce inside a high-humidity drawer when it’s closed with an ethylene-producing fruit like an apple; in that case, the lettuce will go bad fast.

Now you know why your veggies have been going bad too fast. It’s because you mixed them with the wrong vegetables and fruits, and kept the drawer closed.

However, opening the little window in the drawer to make it a low-humidity drawer is enough to let the Ethylene out. The rest of the refrigerator is big enough to dilute this gas for a limited effect on the rest of the produce in the refrigerator. Ethylene is a plant hormone and does not affect people at all.

So Do You Store Tomatoes in High or Low Humidity?

That said, what should you store in a low-humidity-open window drawer? Fruits and vegetables that produce Ethylene should be stored there. These include apples, tomatoes, avocadoes, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, blueberries, green onions, melons, okra, peaches, mushrooms, nectarines, plums, grapes, and pears.

What about the high-humidity closed window drawer? In this drawer, you should store fruits and vegetables that are sensitive to the effects of ethylene. They include – zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, cucumbers, leafy greens, green beans, lettuce, peppers, peas, spinach, and summer squash.

The humidity settings on both of these drawers work best when the drawers are 2/3 full. Ensure that you do not stock up on these drawers too full.

Now to answer the question, should you store tomatoes in high or low humidity? If you have to keep them in the refrigerator, store them in low humidity with an open window. However, the best way to store them is out at the counter.

The Best Way to Store Your Produce 

It is best to store your produce in the packaging you bought them in. If you need to change it, loosely wrap it in paper or perforated plastic bags. Allow your produce to breathe. This allows the ethylene gas to escape, keeping away any extra moisture from getting trapped inside. Extra moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria and can make your produce go bad fast.

LUXEAR Fresh Produce Vegetable Fruit Storage Containers 3Piece Set, BPA-free

There are plastic vented containers that you can buy to help you store your produce in better condition. They help keep your fruits and vegetables in a healthy state, away from any danger of rot. They have a tray that collects the water sitting in a puddle of water, and the lid is invented to let the Ethylene out. These two qualities keep your produce fresh.

Is Everything Else Stored in the Refrigerator?

Please note, not everything belongs in the refrigerator! Some fruits and veggies will do best when left on the counter. And the best thing is the more you see them, the much you are bound to eat them.

Bananas and tomatoes are some of the food that should never go into the refrigerator. The refrigeration temperatures keep bananas from getting any riper and sweeter. Tomatoes will get a mealy texture and lose their natural flavor when refrigerated. Keeping your tomatoes out of the compressed humidity helps them last longer.

Citrus fruits can also be stored at room temperature on the counter for 7-10 days. If they are refrigerated, they pick up some odors from the refrigerator.

Melons, summer squash, cucumber, eggplant, and zucchini all do better on the counter at room temperature. Once melons ripen, consume them within 7 days. The vegetables can only last a couple of days on the counter, so use them as soon as you can.

Is Everything Else Stored In The Refrigerator

Some fruits and vegetables even ripen better if you leave them on the counter. If you are not ready to eat them when they get ripe, you can now put them in the refrigerator to extend them a few days. Fruits like avocados, apples, kiwis, peaches, nectarines, pears, and plums all fall into this category.

Once you cut your fruit and vegetables, all the remaining pieces should be refrigerated and used within 2 to 4 days.

Best Humidity for Vegetable Drawer

You may be wondering what the humidity should be for your vegetable dray. Well, the truth is, the refrigerator vegetable drawer humidity setting all depends on which fruit and vegetables you’re storing. For example, some prefer high humidity, while others prefer low.

Generally, it’s best to keep your drawer at low humidity. This is to stop the food from perishing too quickly. If your food is prone to rotting quickly, opt for low humidity. If your food is prone to wilting quickly, opt for high humidity. Let’s take a closer look at some examples.

Some foods that should be kept in a high-humidity drawer are as follows:

  • strawberries
  • watermelon
  • asparagus
  • eggplant
  • green beans
  • okra
  • peas
  • cucumber
  • lettuce (and other leafy greens)
  • peppers
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • Brussels
  • herbs

Some foods that should be kept in a low-humidity drawer are as follows:

  • peaches
  • pears
  • plums
  • avocado
  • bananas
  • figs
  • mangoes
  • melons
  • apples
  • papayas
  • kiwis

What Should the Humidity of Refrigerator Be?

You may be curious as to what the humidity of your refrigerator should be. It may surprise you that many factors can affect the humidity of your fridge, which is why you should be careful where you store certain foods. For example, foods that are prone to wilting should be kept in a high-humidity drawer. Whereas foods that are prone to rotting quickly should be kept in a low-humidity drawer.

The humidity can change when:

  • You open your fridge. If you leave your fridge open for more than a few seconds, warm air will enter the fridge and even when closed, the humidity will have risen dramatically.
  • Contents. This is why it’s recommended to allow food to come to room temperature before you place it in the fridge. If you place hot food into the fridge, the humidity will rise dramatically.

All you need to know is the best places to store certain foods; at either high or low humidity. The temperature of your refrigerator often changes slightly throughout the day, so there is no set humidity in your fridge should be.

tomatoes stored in the refrigerator

Humidity Control in Fridge for Vegetables

You may be curious about how to control the humidity in your fridge for foods like fruits and vegetables. The best way is to use the zones in your fridge correctly. For example, foods prone to perishing quickly such as plums and pears should be kept in low humidity. Whereas foods prone to wilting, such as asparagus, need to keep in high humidity.

You should also only leave your fridge open for very short bursts of time, and never place hot food directly into the fridge. Both of these will help to control the humidity in the fridge.

Should Tomatoes Be Stored in the Refrigerator?

It is not recommended to store tomatoes in the refrigerator, but that’s not to say you can’t if you want to. It’s not recommended because it can alter both the flavor and texture – and not for the better! However, if you opened your tomatoes, or chopped them pre-emptively, you should keep them in the fridge, in an airtight container, for best results.

Conclusion: Tomatoes High or Low Humidity?

It is essential to learn the nitty-gritty of every sector of life, and learning about high or low humidity for veggies is part of our daily life. The last thing we want is for you to spend all the money shopping only to lose half of the stuff you bought because you stored them in the wrong place.

Remember always to keep your refrigerator clean and well-stocked for that quick dinner when you are running late from work. Besides, appreciate your counter and pantry where you also store other types of foods. Keep your potatoes in the pantry in a cool, dry place away from moisture.

I hope this post has helped to answer the question of whether it’s best to keep tomatoes in high or low humidity. If you have any tips or tricks when it comes to storing tomatoes, please feel free to let us know in the comments below. And remember, sharing is caring!


What is the best way to store tomatoes?

The best way to store tomatoes is in a cool, dark place. Tomatoes are sensitive to light and heat. So what you should do is store them in an open window drawer that has low humidity.

However, the answer to this question depends on your needs and goals. If you just want to store tomatoes for a few days, there are several ways that can work. I have found the easiest way is to simply put them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. This will keep them safe and preserve their flavor. If you want to store tomatoes for longer periods of time, then you will need to use something different.

Generally speaking, a refrigerator is not a very good place for storing tomatoes. They will shrivel and lose flavor if left at room temperature.

The first thing I do with any produce is cut it into slices.

Then I place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I then cover the whole thing with a plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. This helps keep the produce from drying out and keeps it fresh for longer.

How does the ripening process work?

When the tomato is ripe it releases a chemical into the pod. This chemical causes the pod to ripen. It also allows the fruit to be eaten. This process is called “ripening” or “de-greening.” The skin of the tomato is made up of two layers, the exocarp and the endocarp. The exocarp is the outermost layer of the fruit. The endocarp is the innermost layer. The exocarp is what you see when you pick up the tomato. It is the part that has been cut off from the stem. The endocarp is the part that is left on the stem. It is the part that is used in canning. It is important to note that both layers are edible.

This is the best way I've found to keep my tomatoes from turning green. The idea is to keep them in the refrigerator. As long as they are kept cool and out of direct sunlight, they should remain fresh for a week or two.

What’s a good alternative to canning them?

If you don't want to can them, your best bet is to freeze them.

You'll want to let them thaw out first, then place them in the fridge. This should keep them from getting moldy.

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