Harvesting and Storing Tomatoes

When to Pick

  • Pick before the tomato is fully colored and still firm. This allows the plant to use its nutrients and resources in developing the next fruit.
  • Ripen the freshly picked tomatoes at room temperature. If you will not use the tomatoes as soon as they ripen (best option), store the ripened tomatoes in the refrigerator.
  • If the tomatoes have been refrigerated, remove tomatoes and leave at room temperature for at leas an hour before using so they can regain their flavor.
  • If frost is imminent, cover the tomato plants to extend the growing season or pick tomatoes and ripen them indoors.

In the Fall

  • On the day before a killing frost is predicted, harvest all green tomatoes.
  • Wrap tomatoes individually in paper and store between 60 and 65ºF (15 – 18º C).
  • Whole plants may be uprooted and hung in sheltered locations where the fruit continues to ripen.