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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