Finding the Perfect Tomato to Store

“Horticulturist, Could you please advise the name of the variety you recommend that best stores as green tomatoes that gradually ripen during the winter. We are presently using Burpee Long Keep, but can no longer obtain seed of this variety from Burpee. Thank you. ~J.”

Here are the ones I was able to find:

–Peters Seed and Research / Tomato Seeds…
These varieties are generally very firm, especially in the early
stages of ripeness. The flavor of most storage tomatoes is decidedly
acidic in early storage; the longer the tomatoes are stored the less
acidic they become. Harvest all fruit, green and red, before frost
damages them. For the longest storage, place the tomatoes in a single
layer in boxes (like strawberry boxes), stack in a cool place that
isn’t so damp that moisture condenses on the fruit and isn’t so dry
that the fruit dehydrates. Best long-term storage is at temperatures
of 40-50F and a relative humidity of over 70%. Check the fruits every
1-2 weeks removing any beginning to spoil. The fruits must be blemish-
free if they are intended to store very long. Don’t waste your time
on fruits with bug pecks, tiny rot specks, cuts, bruises, and the
like. Remove all stems. Soaking the fruit in a light Clorox bath will
often greatly decrease rotting. Your garden soil can dramatically
affect the storage life of a tomato. Certain types of very sandy or
gravely soils, when supplied with adequate nutrients, especially
phosphorous and calcium and sulfur have proven to produce
exceptionally rot resistant tomatoes. We know that hydrogen peroxide
can form when some soils are watered during sunlight hours, but don’t
know if that is a factor. High silicon levels may have some but
unknown ability to impart rot resistance when other factors are
right. Certain clay soils and fertilizing schemes can dramatically
reduce storability of tomato fruits. Eliminating the water to the
plants 2-4 weeks before harvest of storage tomatoes has often proven
to extend storage life and increase flavor. Your garden soil can
dramatically affect a tomatoes’ storage life.

Golden Treasure UR
Larger, nearly uniform-ripening Golden Treasure type. Similar to our
original Golden Treasure, except the fruits average 20-30% larger and
are virtually uniform ripening (free of green shoulder). Good very
tangy flavor. Crisp textured and very long-keeping. Indeterminate
Origin: PSR Breeding Program
Pkt $1.50

Ruby Treasure
A very firm, smooth and beautiful 6-8oz slicer for red, ripe harvest.
Excellent flavor and color in our storage trials. Tenderness and
aroma increase as it becomes riper. Can store for 2-3 months, if
harvested green. (85 days) Determinate
Origin PSR Breeding Program
Pkt $1.50

Keep the fruits off of the ground and harvest prior to frost. Fruits
have kept until February from an October picking.
Packets for any STUFFING tomatoes are $2.50 each. Packets will
contain at least 25 seeds.
Ruby Treasure- 85 days – A Tim Peters development. Nice, bright
scarlet red fruits. Hard skinned so they keep well.
Winterkeeper- 91 days – Indeterminant, normal leaf, 10 oz. fruits,
solid green until storage then turn a pale yellow outside and red
Yellow Out Red In- 99 days- Semi-determinant, solid 6 oz. globe,

78 days. (Semi-determinate) Due to the slow ripening characteristic
of this variety, fruits become ripe 1-1/2 to 3 months after harvest,
ensuring a supply of fresh tomatoes into the winter. Some customers
report storing Long Keeper 4 to 6 months. Though the quality
match that of a fresh garden tomato, flavor and texture is superior
to most winter supermarket tomatoes. Unblemished tomatoes are
harvested before frost and allowed to ripen at room temperature.
Store at room temperature so fruits are not touching and check for
ripeness and rotting weekly. Used apple boxes with their fruit
seperators are convienient for this. Fruits are mature for harvest
when they have a pale, pink blush. The 4 to 7 oz. fruits ripen in
storage to a satiny, red-orange color. Flesh ripens to medium-red.
Best planted in late spring or early summer for fall harvest, start
seeds in early May. Long Keeper is often grown as a supplement to the
main crop.

–Tomato, Long Keeper Sold in Canada
According to our records, the following varieties were offered by
Canadian seed and plant companies in 2004-2005.

This information is provided as is, to further our knowledge of
garden biodiversity and the conservation of heritage plants. Seeds of
Diversity takes no responsibility for errors or omissions, but we
appreciate any updates that you can provide.

Burpee Long Keeper Tomato seeds
Origin: USA
Item #: 0127
The Long Keeper Tomato was introduced by the W. Atlee Burpee Company
in 1979 and has remained popular since. Burpee’s Long Keeper Tomato
has amazing storage properties if the fruits are harvested when they
are unblemished and a light golden-orange color. The tomatoes should
be stored, unwrapped, without touching one another and in a cool,
dry, dark place at 60 to 70 degrees. Tomatoes of the Burpee Long
Keeper thus stored, will keep for 6 to 12 weeks. Reports of tomatoes
of this variety keeping up to 5 months have been reported in the
past. This tomato variety’s amazing storage ability is not a result
of genetic modification, but due to a natural gene that appears in a
few tomatoes called “Alcobaca”. Burpee Long Keeper is not a great
tasting tomato variety, but is a good tomato variety to grow a few
plants of to insure that you have a source of tomatoes when they are
out of season! It’s taste is comparable or superior to those
expensive tomatoes you buy in the stores during the winter.

The tomato fruits are harvested at a golden-orange color, but turn to
a medium red when stored properly. The flesh is a typical medium-red

A 1995 home garden long keeper from Seminis (Petoseed)


© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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