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How to preserve fresh tomatoes in transparent plastic containers?

Ahana Shrestha
Practical Action

Question from Lanre Sanni about how to preserve fresh tomatoes.

I was wondering if anyone could help out with information on the preservation of fresh tomatoes (and other vegetables). Basically, I want to preserve fresh tomatoes in transparent plastic containers (not metal cans) in sizes of 1kg, 2kg and 3 kg. The tomatoes will be preserved whole. What am looking for is the technical inftormation that could be used to do this type of preservation. The aim is to deliver the same outcome as metal tin preservation used for (whole) plum tomatoes. I hope this makes sense.

Your assistance in this matter will very much appreciated.

Kindest, Lanre Sanni


Is there a specific reason on why plastic, rather than metal or glass, has been chosen for the containers? I'm not sure it's the best material for this kind of product. If it's for a cottage industry (rather than industrial) scale of intervention, glass jars would likely be more appropriate.

Olmo Giovanni gravatar imageOlmo Giovanni ( 2016-09-09 08:27:20 )

1 Answer


Hi Lanre,

Using plastic jars is problematic due to potential chemical leaching when hot tomatoes sauce is included, as well as the sterilization options available as you cannot simply boil the jars for disinfection.

Home made tomato canning is a long standing Italian tradition, but requires canning glass jars (reusable) which require specific lids (disposable). Below are three tutorial videos in English that show two basic processing techniques for canning tomatoes at household level.

Basic Processing Warm Bath Method Pressure Canning Method

Alternatively, drying is a low cost technique that can either be done using sun, oven, or dehydrators. In Syria, UNDP is promoting sun drying of vegetables to preserve food and create livelihoods, and all they use is hanging line in full day exposed rooftops. Using a sun dehydrator would be better, though, as it prevents potential contamination of dried food.

Below you can find a guide to fruit and vegetable drying

There are many solar driers designs and dimensions, from very simple to more complex, from home sized to large scale.

Here you can find a good review of available techniques

The easiest instructions on how to build a good solar drier I found are from

Additional resources can be found at the National Center for Home Food Preservation of the University of Georgia

The FAO Guide for quality assurance of food processing for small scale rural food industries includes some instructions about drying in the spice and herbs section

The FAO Grain Storage Guide also includes a full chapter reviewing drying options

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2016-08-19 05:00:18
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Last updated:
Sep 22 '16