Long Keeper Tomatoes

November 11, 2007

Long Keeper Tomatoes.

What are the best long keeping tomatoes for after the season ends. Mine are all gone in a week this year. I sure miss those home grown tomatoes.

I thought I once read that there were better look keepers then the Burpee Long Keeper. Dont know if Burpee still sells those. I used to have some Burpee Long Keepers but my seed went bad by crossing and the tomatoes lost their long keeping quality.

So now I need new seeds for next year. I am looking for suggestions.

Comments (35)

  • dangould

    After some Google Search I found some long keeping tomatoes listed at Sandhill Preservation. Has anyone any ideas on these and others???

    I want to find some good long keeper type tomato seeds for next year. Here is a description from Sandhill Preservation. Has anyone tried any of these. Can anyone recommend a good long keeping tomato for me.

    Dan Gould

    from Sandhill Preservation on their long keeping tomatoes.

    Green Thumb: 95 days. Determinate, compact plants producing 4 oz., very hard, green tomatoes. After several months of storage, the fruits ripen to a pale yellow with reddish gel around the seeds.

    Old Fashioned Garden Peach: 70 days. Semi-determinate plants. Yellowish-red, 4 oz. hard fruits that will keep for some period of time. We have changed the name slightly from just "Garden Peach" as recently another tomato that is not this one is being distributed by that name. This one does not have fuzzy skin and is a true, keeping type tomato.

    Ruby Treasure: 85 days. A Tim Peters development. Nice, bright scarlet red fruits. Hard skinned so they keep well. OG

    Winterkeeper: 91 days. Indeterminate plants, normal leaf, 10 oz. fruits, solid green until storage then turn a pale yellow outside and red inside. (Limit 1 Pkt.)

    Yellow Out Red In: 93 days. Semi-determinate plants, solid 6 oz. globe, tart.

  • denninmi

    I was able to keep some "Granny Smith" tomatoes until mid-march, just on my kitchen counter in a bowl a couple of years ago. They were picked in October, and I didn't really do anything special with them, or even intend to keep them so long -- I just brought them in to use, and they sat there so long that, starting around Thanksgiving, it became a big challenge to see how long they would last. None of them (I had six or seven) even started to go bad at all until at least february. Then, one by one, they started to get small bad spots, so I used them as they went bad.
    "Granny Smith" is what is sounds like -- a green fleshed, green ripening to chartreuse skinned, large heirloom slicer which is quite acidic, which is why they kept so well, I guess. I haven't grown any since, but really should, just to try again as a storage tomato. Although sour, they had true tomato flavor, even in march, much better than the cardboard from the grocery store.

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  • dangould

    Reimers lists

    Granny Smith TomatoTM232-20

    72 days. Lycopersicon esculentum. (F1) Plant produces good yields of 8 oz green tomatoes. The tomatoes are flavorful and stay green when fully mature. Excellent slicing tomato which can be diced without becoming mushy. Perfect for grilling or frying. Keeps for two weeks after picking. Indeterminate. pk/20

    does not really list as a long keeper and it is an f1 hybrid. I would prefer a OP type so I can save up some seeds each year.

    Has anyone grown tomatoes for long keeping after the season ends???

  • naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan

    Your question brought back old memories of my dad growing Long Keeper tomatoes which I see are still available from several sources. It seems like we ate them for a few months after the garden was done growing. I hadn't thought of them in years.

    What improvement over the Long Keeper are you looking for? Taste? Size? Appearance?

    I store whatever comes out of my garden before frost in the garage and twice a week bring in those looking slightly ripe. Without choosing any special varieties, I usually have garage/house ripened tomatoes for six weeks or more. I have a fair number go bad with rot forming in slight cracks and bruises. I've wondered if washing them before storage with a mild bleach solution would reduce the spoilage...but haven't taken time to try it.

    I'm interested in seeing what suggestions are given other than Long Keeper itself...though now that I've been reminded of it, I just may try that one next year.

  • dangould

    Well the reason I posted was to get a discussion going on the long keeper type tomatoes to decide what to grow next year. I guess it would be nice to find some kinds of testimonials on some of them.

    I grew the Burpee Long Keeper 20 years ago but was never really happy with the outcome. I need new seeds and have since found out there are other long keeper types and so felt we all should get updated on these. Now is the time I think about them since all my regular tomatoes are gone until next year. and this is kind of early. It would be nice to get some for Thanksgiving and for christmas.

  • catherine_nm

    I grew Long Keepers two years ago. My gardening mentor, an old neighbor from years ago, taught me to just pull the tomato up by the roots at the end of the season and hang the plants upside down in the pantry. I had tomatoes all the way until spring! In fact, I tossed the last few into the chicken's cage in late June.

    For keeping qualities, I was impressed. But the reason there were still tomatoes in June was that we weren't that impressed with the flavor and texture.


  • dangould

    Good to hear they lasted so long. I remember some 20 years ago when I grew them that I was not eating them. mostly because they did not turn red. I kept waiting for them to turn red.

    Today I have more practice eating tomatoes that are still green and I like them OK. The long keepers never impressed me for flavor in the winter but then they probably are a little better than the cardboard ones from the store.

    I just have to try something next year.

    I had saved up some long keeper seeds and they germinated but did not seem to be the real deal. I think the seeds crossed although I only had 2 plants and I got them mixed up a bit. Or that was my feeling when the ones marked long keeper did not seem to be long keepers and another plant seemed more like the long keepers that I remembered.

    So either the seeds were crossed. most likely. or else I mixed up the plants as seedlings. or most likely both.

    I wonder if any of those on the Sandhill list have better taste after the season is over.

    I am really surprised there is not more posting on this topic. I would think almost everyone would want a long keeper for the winter.

  • aka_peggy


    I grew Heidi, a paste type this summer and was amazed at how long they could sit on the counter and still not get over ripe. I've never tasted "long keeper" but I'll bet that Heidi taste better. I doubt you'll be eating maters all winter but they'd probably keep till Christmas if picked when they have a nice blush, Taste? Hard to say until you try.

    Next year I want to grow several plants of Heidi. (I only grew 2 this year) I love roasted tomatoes and Heidi is great for that. I'll try storing some too. Another thing about Heidi, she's highly productive.

    Another tomato plant that is said to store well is garden peach. I grew them last year and loved the taste...plus they're so darned cute. I've read that garden peach can be picked when green and will store for up to 4 months. Wherever I read that claimed that the tomatoes don't lose flavor in storage. I didn't grow them this year because I didn't save seeds. Someone gave me a single plant. I ordered seeds from Sandhill Preservation in the spring but he was out of seeds too. I did finally get them but it was too late to sow them this year. They do have a long maturity date.

    Good luck!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Storage tomatoes

  • dangould


    thanks for the info.

    I want to add something about storing tomatoes. I think the idea of dipping the toms in dilute bleach is a sort of good idea. The idea is to kill off all the germs on the skin so it will keep longer. The problem is that bleach is poisonous and I dont want to do a bleach dip. I know for sure that the bleach will remain or leave a residue on the tomato. I believe a better safer solution is to use Hydrogen Peroxide, HP. Now at a dollar a quart at wal mart that is not too expensive. I think a good dip in the HP will work well enough and be much safer to eat afterwards. After all HP is simply H2O2 or simple hydrogen and oxygen. no poison at all.

    I know that some big companies use a similar wash to kill germs on food like lettuce. Of course they need large amounts of HP so the low cost way for them to go is to buy HO2 which is a condensed HP. when you add water it breaks down into HP. Water is H2O and here they use HO2. also called hydrogen dioxyde.

    Basically with HP and HO2 everything breaks down to hydrogen gas and Oxygen gas and floats off into the air. no poison is left on the food. bleach might leave a very poisonous chlorine or chlorine products on the food. I believe if bleach was safe to use then these companies would be using it on food products but they do not use bleach as far as I know.

  • heirloomtomato

    I remember growing a tomato called Golden Treasure some years back ( maybe 15?) that kept for quite a long time. When I grew them, the person I got the seeds from didn't tell me they were a long keeper and I couldn't figure out why they weren't getting ripe! :) I did pick them and they ripened over a long period - at least until Christmas. I can't remember a lot about the taste so I guess they weren't outstanding. I know they were orange and had a kind of crispy texture. I would say from memory they were okay. Maybe I'll see if I still have seeds somewhere and try them again next year. A trader in Canada sent me the seeds and I couldn't find out much about them when I "googled" them. I have never grown the Long Keepers so can't say if they are better or worse. Just another variety to consider.

  • dangould

    Golden Treasure sounds good. If you locate seeds or where to purchase them please email me. I would like to try them. Maybe these were a heirloom that is not available. hope you find some seeds that germinate and can preserve the genetics. I love to preserve genetics. I have success with some real difficult cases.

    well I hit this but would prefer the originals. Originals are always better.


    I found this picture at another place but this does not look like your description.

    both of these call it a YELLOW tomato. You said yours were orange. but peters does say his is a long keeper.

    Here is a link that might be useful: tomato

  • heirloomtomato

    This is probably very similar to the tomato I grew. The ad in the link calls them a Golden Treasure "type" Lots of tomatoes called gold look yellow, but I do think mine, when ripe, were a bit darker then the one's you pictured. I think I still have some seeds somewhere from when I grew them but will have to hunt through my seed box. The seeds, as I said, are probably about 15 years old but I have germinated seeds older then that so you might have some luck. E-mail me privately and I will see if I can locate any.

  • dangould

    I have lots of experience germinating old seeds and saving genetics. Saving genetics is a passion for me. I do not want anything to go extinct. so I have saved a few plants from extinction.

  • dangould

    just found a newer f1 hybrid of a storage tomato. They are certainly pushing the sale of the seeds hard. would be interesting to see if they live up to the claims.


    Keepsake tomato f1

    Here is a link that might be useful: Keepsake tomato info

  • ralleia

    I found the article. It was an Organic Gardening article Sept/Oct 1997 that rated long-keeping tomatoes on taste. Their ratings were:

    Best overall: Dwarf gold treasure (source: Peters)
    Best red (tie): Sheriff (source: Johnny's) and Winter Red (source: Burpee)
    2nd best overall: Mountain Gold (source: Peters)
    2nd best red: Flavor More (source: Nichols)

    Comments about the Dwarf gold treasure included best tasting with "very nice flavor and tangy to boot" and the long-distance winner, with some fruits lasting and ripening into February.

    The reviewers didn't have anything overly exciting to say about Mountain gold--just that it had long shelf life and had tomato flavor.

    The reds had overall good flavor reviews.

    Overall the reviewers marvelled at how long all these tomatoes kept while still tasting like tomatoes.
    I've found that my gold tomatoes, even though they weren't "storage" tomatoes kept better than the "non-storage" reds. I had only a few gold tomato plants compared to all the reds, but now the gold tomatoes are disproportionally represented among the last tomatoes. They have fewer blemishes as well.

    Even with all my "non-storage" tomatoes, I still have ripe tomatoes in late December. They were all picked green to save them from the frost and stored gently in an unheated basement (~50 degrees F). Ones that we wanted to ripen faster were stored upstairs where daytime temps are close to 70. And the ones that survive all taste like tomatoes--not anywhere near as good as summer, but not pulpy and tasteless like those horrific reddish orbs from the grocery.

    Next year I plan to plant plant a bunch of the Ruby Treasure and Gold Treasure and see how long into the winter we can get!

  • dangould

    Great posting ralleia.

    I find it hard to find long keeping tomatoes. even the names. Now you mention others I never heard of. I can only guess that they do not sell well and so the seed companies give up on them. But actually they deserve to be great sellers.

    So far I have ordered a long keeper Garden Peach from Fedco. and 2 long keepers from vegetable seed warehouse keepsake and burpee long keeper. I am waiting for Sandhill to officially allow orders for 2008 with a new catalog.

    But your list gives me more to look for. I think I found your article online at below

    but I do not find the seeds. I suspect they are no longer available in just a short time.

    Here is a link that might be useful: article

  • ralleia

    Hi Dan,

    The link you provided was to a very interesting book that references the article that I have clipped out--the OG article was only a few pages but had some delectable photographs, made even more attractive by the six inches of snow I'm looking at outside with more forecast for the weekend!

    I found "Golden Treasure" at the link below. It doesn't say "Dwarf" so it must be a larger-fruited version. I bought this and "Ruby Treasure" last year, though I can't find the latter now.

    I have "Golden Treasure" and "Ruby Treasure," both from Peters Seeds, and both purported to be long-keepers. Would you like to make a trade? I've got tomatoes coming out of my ears, but am always interested in cucurbits, brassicas, or anything on my trade list.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Golden Treasure

  • carolyn137

    I am waiting for Sandhill to officially allow orders for 2008 with a new catalog.


    You can send in your order now but it won't be filled until they start doing that sometime in January. Actually best to get ahead of the crowd since the past couple of years they've been swamped as more and more folks discover Sandhill.

    As for longkeepers, I guess I take the narrow view that for everything there is a season.

    Was I ever delighted to see the results from that OG article posted. I knew of it but was too darn lazy to go looking for it online b'c I no longer have all my back issues of OG. And I no longer sub to it either.

    I'd venture a guess that most of what was written in that article as to varieties is long since out of date, with the exceptions noted above.

    If I saved every issue of all the gardening magazines that I used to sub to there wouldn't have been room for anything else no matter where I lived. LOL


  • heirloomtomato

    Hello! Just curious if you got the Golden Treasure seeds I sent you? I hope you can get some to germinate at the proper time. Please let me know what you think of them if you are successful. As I said, it's been a while since I grew them and my memories not to good about what the taste was like! :)

  • dangould

    yes I got the tomato seeds. I will grow them for sure. I will post on how they do. I am very grateful for these Golden Treasure seeds.

    I took Carolyn's advice and wrote up a Sandhill order. Then I hit an item that was not available in 2007 and so I dont know the price. So I had to skip over it.

    I ordered 15 different tomatoes. This should be a good tomato year for me. I wrote out the check over $40 with other goodies. and have it in the envelop all addressed right now. Have to get a stamp at the post office tomorrow morning. I also included a few tomatoes that Carolyn has said were good in various threads. Thanks Carolyn for sharing. Unfortunately Sandhill does not have everything. haha.

    With everything I should have 8 or 9 different Long Keeper type tomaotes and I will do a report this summer on the grow out. I probably will start a thread when I plant the seeds. Maybe better to just post in this thread as they grow. Anyway. everyone who is interested can follow the results. Hope it works.

    Burpee Longkeeper
    Keepsake f1 hybrid
    Golden Treasure
    ......5 from Sandhill
    Ruby Treasure
    Green Thumb
    Old Fashioned Garden Peach aka Garden Peach
    Yellow Out Red In
    +++ from Fedco
    Garden Peach from Fedco might be the same or different from the Sandhill one.

    Apparently there is some discussion of a Garden Peach tomato that his fuzzy and one that is not fuzzy. Gets confusing. I think I will have both but not sure until I grow them out.

    I will probably call them

    Garden Peach Sandhill
    Garden Peach Fedco

    That way I will not get them confused for my own records.

    Here are some early thoughts on the experiment.

    Tom Peters probably put together a good collection of long keepers and developed 2. the red and the yellow. His developments are Golden Treasure and Ruby Treasure. Right now he is only selling Golden Treasure so he might consider that the better one. Next the hybrid Keepsake is fairly new and probably has some benefits. I can only guess that at least one of these 3 should do well. Then those from Sandhill I have no clue on how they will stack up to the competition.

    Personally I find tomatoes have gone up in price at my local food store. The price has doubled in the last 2 years at my local store. getting where some long keepers make sense for me.

    Also I took the clue that the yellow might store better and so I ordered a few yellow from Sandhill. good tasting regular tomatoes like Kellogs breakfast and lets see how they stack up to storage in the fall. might not go as long but I hope the quality is better.

  • dangould

    Well I am reviving this thread.

    I should have read it a month ago. I forgot about some of the seeds but I did plant a lot of seeds of storage tomato types.

    I forgot to plant the seeds from Fedco and the hybrid Keepsake. Maybe I can still do that. However, right now I have lots of plants. probably too many for the garden. But we shall see.

    I also planted the seeds of the long keepers late. I dont want tomatoes from these early. I want them at the end of the season.

    I suspect that the Winterkeeper from Sandhill and the Burpee Long Keeper just might be the same. But I have no evidence of that. Just a feeling.

    Unfortunately most did not give great germination and so I had to do seeds a 2nd time.

    So my garden has only 2 regular tomatoes. Jet Star for early and Beefsteak type for later. Then I have a ton of long keepers. Probably over 100 plants.

    Nothing is in the ground yet. So I do not count plants until they get planted into the ground because I tend to give away a lot of plants. But I am going to try to get a good comparison and also to save some seeds.

    Does anyone else have any storage type tomatoes in the ground this year. I think the idea is facinating to try to eat tomatoes late in the winter from the garden.

  • elskunkito

    Does anyone else have any storage type tomatoes in the ground this year

    yes, this thread taught me such a thing existed.
    I too am fasvcinated.

    I bought
    longer keeper --very vigourous so far.

    burpee longer keeper --No room for it, sent it down to oregon to live. Will report success in winter.

    window box roma --Last year I had many of these. they kept for weeks, maybe months. Taste, just OK. Was very good for pasta sauce.

    gold medal --from catalog: Harvested ripe fruit lasted for a couple of weeks before showing signs loosing it's beauty.
    I'll report back on it later this summer.

  • fliptx

    Dan, did you plant the Golden Treasure from Peters? I was thinking about growing that one in the fall and then picking before first frost.

  • dangould

    I planted 4 seeds of a variety. the tray held 18 of the 4 cell packs. I put only one seed into each of the 4 in a cell pack. So that did 72 seeds in the tray. More than enough for me even with so so germination.

    The golden treasure seeds failed on me. I also obtained Tom Peter's Ruby Treasure and they are not coming up real well. They are really struggling. I like vigorous plants like the Jet Star. What a nice strong grower Jet Star always is.

    I planted all my seeds very late this year so no time to try a 2nd attampt. However, I did a bunch of varieties and have plenty to put into the garden.

    I also had poor luck with Red Skin new seed but regular tomato. Orange Oxheart have only one decent plant. Yellow Out Red In did not come up well. Bearly have one going now. YORI is also a long keeper.

    Some that came up real strong include Jet Star. Great tomato. Have to get f1 seeds. I have f1 seeds. Winter Keeper and Green Thumb which looks like a very small dwarf or rugose plant right now and is also a long keeper type.

    Others did OK as usually expected.

    So far I would say the best vigor on long keepers for me this spring has been Winter Keeper. Then Gteen Thumb which is a small plant.

    I did a few seeds of one variety of beefsteak early and they are now getting some flowers on them. All the other tomatoes I planted the seeds on May 5 which is very late. But 3 of them have grown well enough that I planted them outdoors the past 3 days. They are Hanky Red, Winter Keeper, and Green Thumb.

    I kind of like the Green Thumb the best so far because the plant looks so small that it takes up very little room and hopefully will give me some winter keepers while using very little space in the garden. But it is still much too early to make a final judgement. But I like the look of the Green Thumb. I put 2 GT into 2 pots for experimentation. Hope they do OK although I grew a tomato in them last year and a pepper the preceeding year. so the soil is used.

    I picked up a bunch of seeds from Sandhill. they have 5 different long keeper types.

    I am undecided on Hanky Red because it has a leaf problem that is probably leaf minors. all of them have the leaf problem. none of the other tomatoes have this problem. I tend to avoid plants that attract bug problems.

    I hope to make new seeds from all my plants. My seeds should have strong germination next year. I do not want to make a judgement on germination of seeds obtained from other sources. poor germination could have been caused because the seeds are slightly older or some other reason like a mold infestation into the seed.

    In the past I have obtained seeds that had to be nursed all year to get new seeds. then the new seeds grew like wild jungle weeds. so I have learned to not judge too quickly.

  • fred6a

    dangould et al
    I am about to order seeds and want to put some of these keepers in and wonder how everyone's tomatos are working out.

  • elskunkito

    my report
    I ate the gold medals right away so I dont knnow how well they keep.

    I havee a longer keeper on the shelf from last sept still.
    It's getting a bit squishy, but is ripening.
    I ate the rest right away.

    Trying a bit more self disicpline this year.

  • jll0306

    Another (yellow) long-keeping variety from Solana Seeds in Quebec

    Giallo a Grappoli

    This is a specialty type that is kept hung in Italy for winter use. Fruits turn quickly to a clear yellow color but will not ripen completely on the plant. They will keep for months afterwards when stored in a cool place. Selection with golden yellow skin and yellow to peach flesh

    This site had many other unusual varieties listed. Worth a visit for all tomatophiles.


    Here is a link that might be useful: Solana Seeds.

  • jll0306

    I see the Giraffe long keeper offered at Tatania's site under its original Russian name of Zhiraf. it may be the longest keeper of them all.

    Indet., regular leaf, peach colored exterior and pinkish apricot interior, 2-3 oz round fruit, longkeeper, keeps well until early spring.


    Here is a link that might be useful: Tatania's Tomato Seeds Order info

  • spronkiam2115_yahoo_com

    I have grown Burpee's Longkeeper Tomatoes for many years and feel that I have had great success. Today is March 18, 2011 and we still have about two dozen tomatoes for the 2010 harvest available. I store my Longkeepers at 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit [my lower level temperature when the grandkids aren't in town, which they are at Christmas]. I place them single layer in strawberry boxes salvaged from a local grocery store, and put fresh newspaper on the bottom periodically. From harvest until now many tomatoes do spoil, but the harvest is plentiful--we consume about 3-5 tomatoes daily. The 2010 harvest tomatoes were slightly smaller in size than prior years. I do not treat the tomatoes with anything as some posts have suggested. I also grew another long keeping variety Endless Summer (from Burpee), but was unable to find these seeds anywhere this year, which may have a superior flavor. I gave away my remaining seeds of someone going to Europe, anticipating that I could find them again this year. So if you have them let me know please. Also if Dan Gould reads this, I would like to see his post re the harvest of his list of long keeping tomatoes.

  • pappabell

    Ponderosa Sel Oro is a good one!

  • russ hook

    I make my own colloidal silver for years. I spray it on any fresh produce I want to keep longer. It also has peroxide in the distilled water i use to make it. DOUBLE WHAMMY!

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    In looking back at these old posts, I am somewhat appalled by the reflexive negative reaction to bleach. Yes, when bleach dries, it leaves behind sodium hypochlorite, which can be a skin irritant. Now, what a dilute bleach rinse leaves behind is a VERY small amount of the stuff. But you know, if you want to be petrified of sodium hypochorite, stay out of swimming pools, stay away from commercial food service, which routinely uses bleach as a disinfectant and, since the stuff is highly water soluble, just give your bleach-preserved veggies a quick rinse before using them. The stuff breaks down into chlorine gas and salt when exposed to acid. Actually, tomatoes are pretty acidic, so if the stuff penetrates the tomato skin, it won't last long there.

    It would be interesting if disinfection of the surface of tomatoes really extends their lifetime. Bleach rinse certainly extends the usable lifetime of winter squash.

  • russ hook

    Yup, I HAVE stayed away from swimming pools and commercial food services (CRAP) for over 30 years. I am also 32 years VEGAN. I haven't been sick in that time. That's quite a COINCIDENCE isn't it???

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8a, HZ10, Cent TX, Sunset z30)

    Yes, it probably is a coincidence, but best of luck in the future. I guess you've managed to avoid argyria from colloidial silver. Unlike sodium hypochlorite, collodial silver does build up in your tissues over the years. When you do pass, your body might be worth some money!

  • HU-593828089

    I have raised Golden Treasure from seed for the past decade. They usually keep for over 4 months. However, last year one sat on the kitchen window sill from harvest in September 2018 until august 1, 2019--easily 10 months looking freshly yellow and firm without any cooling or preservative effort. It then started to go so l let it rot and preserved the seeds. Hope it germinates to see if it can be duplicated. It's possible it was a hybrid of Old German and GT As they look similar And I had both. I know the original seed was GT. I was amazed.

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