How to Store Garden Tomatoes

How to Store Garden Tomatoes

By -Georgia Lund- 

Fresh garden tomatoes are in abundance right now. The juicy, ripe flavor of a home-grown tomato is hard to beat. Unfortunately, the harvest season will soon end, and we will be left with nothing but flavor-less hothouse tomatoes from the grocery store.

But there are some tricks to storing fresh tomatoes, so the eating season will last even after the harvest season has ended. Use these tips on how to save garden tomatoes so you can enjoy fresh tomato flavor for a few more weeks.

Green Tomatoes

Remove green tomatoes from the vine and place stem-side down in a shallow cardboard box. It’s important to put green tomatoes with the stem facing downward- this blocks moisture from leaving tomato and prevents air from entering it. If air gets inside the fruit, it will promote the growth of mold and bacteria.

Place them in a single layer and do not wash them before storing. Place the box in a cool location away from direct sunlight until the tomatoes turn red.

Ripe Tomatoes

Place ripe tomatoes on a flat surface away from direct sunlight. Place them stem side up and don’t allow them to touch each other. A cool location with good air circulation will enable ripe tomatoes to last a week to 10 days. A place that is 55-70 degrees is ideal for storage, but don’t place them in the refrigerator. The cold air will stop the ripening process, but it will also curb the development of juicy flavor.

Over Ripe Tomatoes

Over ripe tomatoes are soft to the touch and have a deep red color throughout. Store them in a single layer in the refrigerator. Cold air will keep tomatoes from ripening, and they should last for another three days.

Remove over ripe tomatoes from the refrigerator about an hour before eating it so they can come up to room temperature and regain flavor.


The fresh flavor, although not the texture, can be enjoyed year round by preserving garden tomatoes. Preserving their goodness can be done by canning, freezing or drying. Use your favorite recipe to create a sauce, salsa, paste, juice or just leave them as-is and preserve them through canning or freezing. Dehydrate and store them for future use in stews, soups, pasta, and sauces. Drying tomatoes can be done in the oven or with a dehydrator.

Image by: Denis And Yulia Pogostins

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