Tomato Processing 101


In celebration of International Women’s day, Agric Investors Resources Development Forum (AIRDEF) hosted a free training in processing of Tomato for a group of interested females on the 12th of March, 2019 at their office in Bodija, Ibadan where I was opportune to attend.

The Aim of the training was to teach women to keep their Tomato in good condition all year long, See and seize business opportunities, local and international markets for whole fruits, puree and powdery Tomatoes.


The Tomato is an edible, often red, berry of the nightshade Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as a Tomato plant. Tomatoes are an intensely nutritious plant food.

On a global scale, the annual production of fresh tomatoes amounts to approximately 160 million tonnes.  However, about a quarter of those 160 million tonnes are grown for the processing industry, which makes tomatoes the world’s leading vegetable for processing. Almost 40 million tonnes of tomatoes are processed every year in factories belonging to the greatest labels of the global food industry. 

Tomatoes are Africa’s most consumed fruit (or vegetable); eaten by millions of people across our continent’s diverse religious, ethnic and social groups. Both in its raw and processed forms, tomatoes are central to most African diets and remain a regular ingredient in many soups, stews, sauces and dishes across the continent.

Sadly, despite the ‘celebrity’ status of tomatoes in Africa, our continent does not provide enough tomatoes to meet its own needs. Almost every country in Africa consumes more tomatoes than it produces. The rest is imported from outside the continent, especially from China – which is now the world’s biggest exporter of tomato products.


Economically speaking, tomatoes are worth a tremendous amount of money because they give more yields and are one of the most important crops in the world

Tomatoes are also one of the main ingredients in hundreds of dishes and products that are sold in supermarkets throughout the world.

This plant is a popular choice by people who wish to grow fruits and vegetables in their own gardens. Not only can they be used raw in salads, but they are also an essential part of many recipes as well as many produced products such as tomato ketchup and tomato paste.

The benefits of growing Tomatoes include: Their high yield which results in their high economic value, they have very high nutritional value with high levels of pro-vitamin A and C. As well as being ranked first on their nutritional contribution to a human’s diet, they are a short duration crop, they are very well suited for different cropping systems that are used on grains and legumes

Tomato Close Up

Tomato just like other foods is also affected by various conditions and is subject to spoilage. In this series of articles, we will learn 3 ways of preserving the Tomato. But this first one is about the preservation of whole fruit. Let get right into the steps.



  • Get healthy Tomato fruits and wash them
  • Put some water on fire and allow to boil, When the water has boiled, turn down the heat.
  • Put washed Tomato fruits in a pot, and make sure the hot water in the pot covers the top of all fruits in the pot.
  • Let the fruits boil in water for 5-7 minutes. The boiling of these fruits in water is called BLANCHING. (This process helps to reduce kill microorganisms present).
  • After Blanching, bring out the Tomato fruits, let them sit for a little while so they can cool

(However, prior peeling of fruits, ensure you get glass bottles with plastic covers because over time, if metal covers are used, these metal covers will rust and contaminate the food. Wash the bottles and set to drain.

Ensure that your hands are clean throughout the processes to avoid contamination which can lead to food spoilage.)

  • After the fruits have been allowed to cool a little, pick up each fruit, cut out the cork of the fruit with a knife and peel over an open glass jar. This is to allow the juice that will be released to fall into the jar. For this process, the Tomato juice is the main preservative.
  • After filling the jar with peeled fruits, (Filling the jar is important so that there is no breeding ground for Microorganisms), put a foil over the glass jar then close the jar with the cover.

After covering, put a small pot cover in a bigger pot, put some water, let it get to one-fourth of the side of the glass jar in the pot so that the glass jar doesn’t tilt in the pot, then place the glass jar on the pot cover in the pot, cover the big pot with its cover and leave to boil for 15 minutes. This process is called pasteurization.


If the whole fruit is left unopened, on a shelf in a cool condition without freezing in a refrigerator, it can last for 3 Months.

With this procedure, whether there is light or not, your whole tomato will remain in good conditions; This is actually a win especially for Nigerians.

Kindly follow this series closely as we will be discussing another procedure next Friday/ next week.

What do you think about this? Let’s read your views in the comment section.


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