How to use cold storage for longer tomato shelf life.

Tomato storage temperature varies depending on the stage of the harvested tomatoes. You probably already know that tomatoes are harvested greenish-yellow, pink, and red. The red tomatoes are the ripest, while the greenish-yellow are closer to unripe. These are good for transporting over long distances.

Ripe tomatoes can last about 7 to 10 days without going bad at room temperature. However, research has shown that plum tomatoes have a longer shelf life than other tomato types. Tomato storage temperature for ripe tomatoes is between 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit for about a week. Unripe tomatoes need slightly higher temperatures to ripen, about 58 degrees Fahrenheit and around 50 degrees Farhenheit for the pink tomatoes.

Tomato cold storage

It would be best if you stored tomatoes away from sunlight. Keep the stem scar facing upwards to soften the fruit to reduce darkening and softening. On the other hand, unripe tomatoes last some 3 to 5 days more than the ripe ones at room temperature.

To increase storage time length, you can store the tomatoes in a refrigerator. You first place them inside a paper bag or a ripening bag.

It would be best to cool the tomatoes immediately after harvesting because they are from a hot field. Low tomato storage temperature eliminates excessive field heat. It also aids immensely in maintaining quality and significantly extends the shelf life of tomatoes.

Furthermore, timely and thorough chilling and cleaning can help decrease the effects of dehydration and deterioration. Cooling after harvest is necessary for retaining quality, but it will not increase the quality of a subpar crop.

To ensure they get to their destination fresh, tomatoes intended for distant markets or tomatoes in the pink or light red stage should be refrigerated soon after harvest. It would be best to place containers of heated tomatoes in a chilled location, known as room cooling.

Containers of tomatoes should be loosely placed with space between them. The spacing allows air to circulate and cool the room. Because the tomatoes produce heat during respiration, air circulation helps to remove that heat.

Tomato cold storage temperature

tomato cold storage temperature
Tomato stored in cold temperature

Tomatoes are extremely susceptible to chill damage. The recommended tomato cold storage temperature changes depending on the fruit’s development (58°F for mature green; 50°F for pink). Tomato cold storage temperature regulation is crucial for product quality and shelf life.

Green tomatoes that are past their prime cannot be kept at temperatures that allow them to mature for an extended period. They often develop rot and fail to ripen when stored at 55°F for several weeks.

The ideal temperature for ripening mature green tomatoes is 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. At temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, mature green tomatoes will look to ripen, but they may not be the best to eat. Slowing the ripening of mature green tomatoes and preventing degradation is best done at a temperature of 58 to 60°F.

Tomato shelf life in cold storage

tomato cold storage shelf life
Cooling after harvesting to increase shelf life

Tomato shelf life in cold storage is usually longer than when left at room temperature. Cold storage over specific time periods reduces the risk of disease. It also makes it easier to transport tomatoes over long distances while still fresh.

Green tomatoes that have been stored at temperatures below 50°F are prone to Alternaria degradation, which can occur during ripening. Chill injury builds up over time and is influenced by both temperature and exposure time.

For example, mature green tomatoes kept at 0°F for six days or 5°F for nine days should degrade at a similar rate. For a week or longer, mature green tomatoes can be exposed to overnight temperatures below 50°F. According to certain research, storing tomatoes in humidities more than 90% can increase the risk of rot.

At 50°F, you can keep light red tomatoes for two weeks or longer. Retail shelf life may be shortened as a result of longer storage.

You can store ripe tomatoes at lower temperatures than mature green tomatoes. A few days at 40°F may be acceptable, but longer storage will result in color, hardness, shelf life, and, most importantly, taste loss.

Firm, well-ripened tomatoes can be stored for up to three weeks at 33 to 35°F in exceptional circumstances. These tomatoes have a short shelf life and a poor flavor and color.

Pink to firm-red greenhouse tomatoes can be stored at 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Tomatoes that aren’t fully ripe should be ripened at 70°F before being kept at 50–55°F.


Because the tomatoes were picked in a hot field, they should be cooled right away. Excessive field heat is eliminated by immediate and complete postharvest cooling. It also greatly aids in the preservation of quality and dramatically extends the shelf life of tomatoes.

Light red tomatoes can be stored for two weeks or longer at 50°F. As a result of the lengthier storage, the retail shelf life may be lowered. Ripe tomatoes can be stored at lower temperatures than fully matured green tomatoes. A few days at 40°F may be sufficient, but longer storage will affect color, hardness, shelf life, and, most importantly, taste.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *