Do sun-dried tomatoes need to be refrigerated? When your sun-dried tomato package contains oil, it must be stored in the refrigerator and can last up to 2 weeks once opened. Store them in a cool, dry place like your pantry if they are merely dried tomatoes without preservatives.
A common problem arises when buying too many tomatoes. They are fantastic and versatile food items, but their shelf life is limited. Over time, they become overripe and unappetizing.
Sun-drying tomatoes is a popular preservation method. Nevertheless, they can spoil quickly, even when stored in a dark, cool area – similar to store-bought tomatoes in their natural state. You may wonder about proper storage methods and refrigeration needs.
This article will explore the best storage methods for sun-dried tomatoes and the reasons behind these requirements.
In This Article
Do Sun-Dried Tomatoes Need To Be Refrigerated?
If your sun-dried tomato package includes oil, it’s essential to refrigerate them to maintain freshness and extend its shelf life.
Once opened, they can last up to 2 weeks when properly stored in the refrigerator. On the other hand, if the sun-dried tomatoes don’t have any preservatives or additional ingredients, you can store them in a cool, dry location such as your pantry.
Ensuring proper storage conditions will help preserve their quality and taste, making them delightful ingredients for various recipes.
What Are Sun-Dried Tomatoes?
Sun-dried tomatoes are precisely what their name suggests: tomatoes dried in the sun.
Rather than considering them merely dried or dehydrated tomatoes, remember that they are oven-dried, not sun-dried. The flavor and ingredients they encounter can differ greatly.
Sun-dried tomatoes are typically small (usually cherry) that are too ripe for fresh sale. Harvested with their soft texture and wrinkled skin, they have already begun to lose moisture.
Initially, tomatoes may be halved or quartered and treated with salt to remove excess moisture. This preserves their color, serves as a preservative, and enhances the salty taste.
Afterward, tomatoes are sun-dried for 4-10 days, sometimes called sun-blushed tomatoes.
Once dried, tomatoes are packaged in various ways, determining the type of sun-dried tomatoes you have and their preservation method.
Different Types of Sun-Dried Tomatoes
The primary packaging method is sealing tomatoes in an airtight container without extra ingredients, simply labeled “sun-dried tomatoes.”
Another popular storage method is olive oil packaging, often referred to as “oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes.” Olive oil serves as both a preservative and flavoring agent.
Additional ingredients like garlic, ginger, herbs, and whole spices may be added to olive oil for unique flavors.
Read also: How to Store Tomatoes (A Step-by-Step Guide)
How Do You Store Plain Sun-Dried Tomatoes?
Plain sun-dried tomatoes have no added ingredients. The key to preserving plain sun-dried tomatoes is limiting oxygen exposure.
Bacteria can still form on tomatoes, even after drying in a clean environment.
Bacteria thrive on moisture and oxygen; removing these elements helps prevent mold growth.
Store tomatoes in a sealable bag, glass jar, or airtight plastic container. Avoid metal containers, which can impart metallic flavors and colors.
Ensure the bag or container has minimal air by squeezing out excess or tightly packing the container.
Dried tomatoes can be stored in a cool, dark cupboard for up to a year. Once opened, they can last for four to eight weeks, depending on moisture, humidity, and exposure conditions.
How Do You Store Sun-Dried Tomatoes In Oil?
Sun-dried tomatoes in oil have a shorter shelf life than regular sun-dried tomatoes. Unopened, they can last 1 to 2 years, stored in a cool, dark space.
Opened sun-dried tomatoes can last about 2-3 weeks before spoiling. Oil-packed tomatoes must be refrigerated.
This applies to sun-dried tomatoes containing other ingredients. Fresh garlic, spices, or herbs can harbor bacteria that grow when exposed to moisture and heat.
Cold temperatures may cause olive oil to solidify and turn white, but this is reversible. When ready to use the tomatoes, let the container sit out for about 30 minutes, and the oil will become clear again.
Check the package weekly for mold signs or rancid odors.
Do Sun-dried Tomatoes In Oil Go Bad?
Sun-dried tomatoes in oil can go bad if they are not stored properly or past their expiration date. Signs that sun-dried tomatoes in oil have gone bad include a sour or rancid smell, mold growth, or an off flavor. It’s always best to check the expiration date and use your senses to determine if the sun-dried tomatoes are still good to eat.
How Long Will Sun-dried Tomatoes In Olive Oil Keep?
Sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil can last for several weeks to a few months in the refrigerator if stored properly. The exact shelf life depends on the quality of the tomatoes, the type of oil used, and how well they are sealed in the container. It’s always best to check the expiration date and use your senses to determine if the tomatoes are still good to eat.
Do You Have To Refrigerate Sun-dried Tomatoes In A Jar?
If sun-dried tomatoes in a jar are packed in oil or another preservative, it’s generally recommended to refrigerate them after opening to prevent spoilage. If the jar is unopened, it can be stored in a cool, dry place for several months. However, it’s always best to check the label for specific storage instructions and use your senses to determine if the tomatoes are still good to eat.