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Harvesting and Storage

Don't leave ripe fruit on the vines longer than necessary. This may increase exposure to rain, which may lead to cracking. Harvesting before it rains also helps avoid fruit molds such as gray mold.

Generally, it is best to harvest red ripe fruit and store it at room temperature. However, if it can't be eaten within 3 days, the fruit can be held in the refrigerator a few more days.

When harvesting less ripe but full-size fruit late in the season, pick them and store at 70° F to ripen. As they become pink, move them to cooler temperatures (55° F) and then to the refrigerator when fully ripe.

To extend the tomato season, hold green fruit where the temperature stays over 50° F most of the time. When the tomatoes start to color, select the best to take to the kitchen for further ripening.

For more details on this topic download this FREE UC ANR publication:
Tomatoes: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve and Enjoy