The Q&A Archives: Keeper Tomatoes

Question: This was my first time growing Keeper tomatoes. Now that I have them stored in my basement (its cool there) they are one by one going rotten. What can I do to prevent this next summer?

Answer: Tomatoes that have reached the right stage of maturity can be coaxed into ripening further, even if picked from the plant. The trick is to examine the green tomatoes and harvest only those that have dark green shoulders. If they are the same green color all over, they probably aren't mature enough to ripen. Toss those, or use them in salsas. The green tomatoes with the darker green shoulders should then be individually wrapped in newspaper and stored in a cool location. Bring them into the house 3-4 days before you want to use them. You can hasten ripening even more by placing an apple with the tomatoes and putting them into a paper bag. The ethylene gas emitted from the apple will help the tomatoes turn rosy red. If your stored tomatoes are developing soft rot, it's because they aren't getting enough air circulation, have been injured during harvest or storage, or they aren't mature enough to fully ripen. Separate your tomatoes by wrapping them in sheets of newspaper, to avoid the spread of the disease. Check them every week - some may ripen on their own without being placed in a warm area.

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