What caused the damage on our grape tomatoes?


I attended your Postharvest Technology Short Course a couple of years ago. I have a question for you about grape tomatoes. I seem to remember a comment or reading that when tomatoes are held below 40F they will only last X number of days. We have a challenge here since we do not have a room that is about 45 F. Any recommendations? Is that temperature damage in the picture or perhaps aging? What is your recommended use from ripening to use or does this depend on stage of ripeness. (P.U.)


In general tomatoes should not be stored below 50F or 10C and that includes grape tomatoes.  Water loss is a major cause of quality loss in grape tomatoes and the consequences of water loss is what you are experiencing, showing in your photo (sunken areas, some shriveling, softening).  The water loss is cumulative but the higher the temperature, the faster the water loss (as occurs during harvest and initial handling). 

Since the grape tomatoes are used as components of vegetable trays we have a temperature issue but also a potential problem with modified atmospheres.  We conducted some studies on grape tomatoes and I recently summarized our findings in a paper for a conference.  We discuss maturity, storage temperatures and impact of modified atmospheres on grape tomato quality.  Once you review the paper, let me know if you have further questions.

– Marita Cantwell