Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600202


Store tomatoes that have not been injured by frost; fruits
from vigorous vines will store better than fruits from
exhausted vines. To avoid chill injury, harvest tomatoes
exposed to temperatures of less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit
in less than five days.

Remove stems to prevent puncturing other tomatoes.
Wash and dry fruit. Wiping dirty fruit when it is dry may
scar skin and shorten storage life.

Sort tomatoes into like stages of maturity or use these
three classifications: those showing red, mature green,
and green. Mature green tomatoes have reached mature size
and are light green to whitish.

Pack tomatoes of like stage 1 or 2 layers deep in boxes or
trays. Mature greens will reach an eating stage in 14 days
when stored between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Ripening
can be slowed by lowering the temperature to 50 degrees

Never expose tomatoes to temperatures below 50 degrees
Fahrenheit for more than a few days. At 55 degrees
Fahrenheit, mature green tomatoes will need 25 to 28 days
to ripen. An airy cellar or outbuilding with moderate
humidity is ideal for storage. Too much humidity will
cause decay and too little will cause shriveling.

Fruits can be wrapped individually to overcome humidity
that is too low. Wrapping will not be effective if the
humidity is very low. If tomatoes are stored in perforated
plastic bags, decay may increase.

Sort tomatoes at 7 to 10 day intervals to separate the red
and green tomatoes and to dispose of any rotted fruit.

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