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This is the No. 1 ingredient you should NOT put in the fridge, yet many people still do it. The cold breaks down the membranes inside the tomato, making the texture mealy and gross. Let your tomato ripen on the counter in a bowl or basket (not in plastic wrap or bags). Eat it within two days of peak ripeness. You can store leftover slices wrapped in plastic on the counter for up to a day. If you absolutely must, place a leftover slice wrapped in plastic in the fridge, but be warned: This ruby jewel will be tarnished after more than a day or so. What about the flavor? Well, we grabbed a leading USDA researcher to share more insights on refrigeration's impact on tomato flavor.