Adherence to the tomato storage technology will provide the end user with quality, juicy and tasty products all year round. Tomatoes have all the important characteristics for long-term storage: destiny keeping ability and shelf life, and the tomato storage technology will provide the end user with quality, juicy and tasty products throughout the year.
Thanks to its density holding ability, the product can maintain its original quality for a long time, without significant loss of weight and taste. Retainability is a manifestation of density holding ability in one season. Tomatoes are most suitable for growing indoors, but can also be grown outdoors.
When preparing vegetables for storage, it should be taken into account that this is a painstaking and time-consuming process. In order to avoid mechanical damage, tomatoes are removed by hand, determining the time of harvesting ripeness of fruits.
There are three degrees of maturity of tomatoes:
1. Green Mostly, tomatoes of milk degree of maturity dosed, or used for salting or marinating. At this stage, tomatoes are immature, normal in size, but green or milky in colour.
2. Pink maturity. At this stage, tomatoes are yellowish-pink and ready to be transported over long distances, and then ripened after 4-5 days.
Yellow, pink or red maturity. The stage of full biological ripeness, in which the fruit is removed for implementation on site or processing.
The shelf life depends on the ripeness of the tomatoes. Tomatoes are stored in closed, ventilated rooms at the following temperatures:
Green maturity: from +8 to +10
Pink maturity: +4 to +6
Full maturity: +1 to +2
Air humidity during storage 85-90%
Tomatoes do not tolerate lowering of temperature and freezing, and low temperatures affect the ability of tomatoes to ripen. Therefore, the last harvest should be carried out until the night temperature has dropped to +6 ... +8 ° C. Optimal conditions for fruit ripening occur at a temperature of about +22°C.
Fruits are picked without a stem and placed in wooden containers with a coating of paper or polyethylene film, so as not to damage the waxy deposits. Immediately after harvesting, the tomatoes are sorted according to their maturity and size. Small and medium sized fruits last longer than large ones. Tomatoes are placed in one or two layers in crates with a capacity of up to 8 kg and transported to the place of storage. It is recommended to cover the boxes with film.
There are a number of measures to both slow down and speed up the maturation process depending on the target.
You can slow down the maturation of tomatoes during storage in the CA (controlled atmosphere). Green tomatoes are better stored at a temperature of 11-13 ° C at an atmospheric content of 5% CO2 and 5% O2. After two days, the CO2 content is reduced to 1%, then the fruit is transferred to the usual atmosphere. At a temperature of 10-20 ° C the fruit ripen for 10 days. Fruits of milk ripeness are well ripened for 1-1,5 months. at a temperature of 8-10 ° C and content in the atmosphere of 1-3% CO2 and 8-10% O2.
It is also possible to slow down the aging process by using sorbilene - a special absorber of ethylene. Sorbilene is a porous material (vermiculite, zeolite, activated carbon, silica gel, cellular glass, aluminum oxide), impregnated with potassium permanganate. When packing tomatoes in boxes put packets at the rate of 5 g sorbilene per 10kg of fruit. Before laying the bags are perforated. When using sorbylene storage period of brown tomatoes is extended by 5-7 days, and the fruit of milk maturity for 10-12 days.
The best way to ripen tomatoes is to use ethylene. They are processed in special chambers loaded with crates of milk ripeness tomatoes. From the tank with a reducer and a gas counter ethylene is produced in a dose of 1m3 of gas per 2500m3 of chamber volume, and the norm of tomato loading should be 60-80kg/m3. The temperature is maintained at 20-22°C, and the relative humidity is 85%. The amount of ethylene should be 8-10 g per day, after which the chamber is ventilated for 30 minutes to remove the accumulated CO2 and supply O2, then the whole cycle is repeated.
To speed up the maturation of tomatoes, the storage temperature is increased. At 18-20 ° C the fruits of milk ripeness ripen for 15-17 days, brown for 10 days, in pink - for 6 days. At a temperature of 28-30 ° C the fruits ripen faster, not unevenly softened.
To store tomatoes used boxes, trays of small capacity and low mechanical strength. In these cases, the use of Packaging of products on rack pallets. On such pallets there are vertical metal columns that support part of the pressure of the top row boxes.