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Tomatoes are used in a wide variety of recipes, and also make a nutritious snack between meals. As with other fruits and vegetables, a tomato is only good for a set amount of time. Once this time passes, eating the tomato or adding it to a recipe is not recommended. Thoroughly inspect the inside and outside of a tomato for signs it has gone bad to prevent you and others from getting sick.
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Notice the color of the tomato. Throw it away if it is not a solid red color or if you see any discoloration.
Look for cracks, mold spots, sunken areas or other damage on the outside surface of the tomato. All of these indicate the tomato is bad.
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Grip, don’t squeeze, the tomato. A good tomato is firm enough that it doesn’t sink in as you hold it. Throw the tomato away if it seems soft.
Smell the outside of the tomato. A bad tomato smells rancid and unpleasant.
Slice the tomato in half. Feel the inside of the tomato. Throw it away if its inside feels slimy.
Inspect the inside of tomato for mold spots, discolored areas or rancid smells. Discard the tomato if you notice any of these conditions.
- How can I tell if my tomato has gone bad?
- Food Storage – How long can you keep…
- Are Split Tomatoes Safe To Eat: Edibility Of Cracked Tomatoes On The Vine
- About Cracked Tomatoes on the Vine
- Can You Eat Cracked Tomatoes?
- How to Water Cherry Tomatoes: Evenly, Deeply, and Often
- When to Pick Cherry Tomatoes
- Growing Cherry Tomatoes in Raised Beds
- Mulching Your Beds
- Provide Ample Drainage for Cherry Tomatoes
- Correct Tomato Harvesting Technique
- Grow Resistant Cherry Tomato Varieties
- Should Cracked Tomatoes Be Thrown Out?
- Videos About How To Keep Your Tomatoes From Splitting?
- Want to Learn More About How To Keep Your Tomatoes From Splitting?
- Related posts:
Do not eat a tomato you think is bad, as rotten tomatoes cause food-borne illnesses. Use a “better safe than sorry” approach if you’re unsure about the quality of the tomato.
How can I tell if my tomato has gone bad?
Start by observing if there seems to be one or more flat spots in the surface. This is the first sign of mushiness, which is the start of degradation. Does part or all of the tomato feel really squishy? Not good. Are there places where the skin has cracked and beginning to weep fluid? Again, not good. Is there a flat spot with a white or grayish color small raised spots? Definitely bad, it has leaked and begun to mold. Is the bottom half mush that has sunk into the container? You should have pulled it from the back of the fridge about a week ago. Otherwise, if there are no obvious flattened spots, cracks, leakage, or mush, enjoy your tomato. Do observe carefully when slicing, though, because some tomatoes can have bad spots internally that haven’t affected the surface. A tomato, like any other fruit, is the vehicle by which the plant insure species perpetuation. It protects and nourishes the seeds to create a new generation. Every fruit once removed from its base plant will begin the process of self destruction, as this is the natural way I provides the protection and nourishment for the seeds. So remember that no outside forces are necessary for fruit to begin to degrade. It is a natural process and cannot be stopped. While it may be delayed, the natural enzymes present will kick into high gear when they are genetically disposed to. Eat your tomatoes fresh become nature takes its course, and you won’t have to worry about bad spots.
Food Storage – How long can you keep…
- How long do tomatoes last? The precise answer to that question depends to a large extent on storage conditions – after purchasing, keep tomatoes in a dry area.
- Properly stored, tomatoes will become fully ripe in about 1 to 5 days at normal room temperature.
- How can you make tomatoes ripen faster? To hasten ripening, put tomatoes in a brown paper bag, close it and leave on the counter.
- Do not refrigerate tomatoes until they are fully ripe – allowing to ripen at room temperature will result in more flavorful, juicy tomatoes.
- To extend the shelf life of fully ripe tomatoes, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate; bring the tomatoes back to room temperature before using.
- How long do tomatoes last in the refrigerator? Fully ripe tomatoes will last for about 5 to 7 days in the fridge.
- Remove tomatoes from the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to serving for best flavor.
- Can you freeze raw tomatoes? Yes: (1) Wash tomatoes and pat dry; (2) Leave skins on, or if desired, peel tomatoes by dipping in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skins; (3) Leave tomatoes whole or cut into pieces; (4) Place tomatoes in a single layer on cookie tray in freezer; (5) Once tomatoes are frozen, transfer to airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags and return to freezer.
- Frozen tomatoes will become mushy when thawed and are best used in cooked dishes.
- How long do tomatoes last in the freezer? Properly stored, they will maintain best quality for about 3 months, but will remain safe beyond that time.
- The freezer time shown is for best quality only – tomatoes that have been kept constantly frozen at 0° F will keep safe indefinitely.
- How to tell if tomatoes are bad or spoiled? Tomatoes that are spoiling will typically become very soft, develop dark spots and start to ooze; discard any tomatoes if mold appears or if the tomatoes have an off smell or appearance.
Sources: For details about data sources used for food storage information, please
Are Split Tomatoes Safe To Eat: Edibility Of Cracked Tomatoes On The Vine
Tomatoes probably rank up there as the most popular plant grown in our vegetable gardens. Since most of us have grown them, it comes as no surprise that tomatoes are prone to their share of problems. One of the more frequent issues is cracked tomatoes on the vine. When presented with this problem, it’s common to wonder about eating tomatoes that are split open. Are split tomatoes safe to eat? Let’s find out.
About Cracked Tomatoes on the Vine
Usually cracked tomatoes are caused by water fluctuations. Cracking occurs when it has been very dry and then suddenly rainstorms arrive. Of course, that’s nature and not much you can do about it except water the plants when it’s very dry! So, yes, cracking also occurs when the gardener (I’m not pointing fingers!) neglects or forgets to regularly supply water to the tomato plants, then suddenly remembers and deluges them.
When this occurs, the inside of the tomato gets a sudden urge to grow more rapidly than the outer skin is capable of keeping up with. This growth spurt results in split tomatoes. There are two types of cracking evident in split tomatoes. One is concentric and appears as rings around the stem end of the fruit. The other is usually more severe with radial cracks that run the length of the tomato, from the stem down the sides.
Can You Eat Cracked Tomatoes?
Concentric cracks are usually minimal and often heal themselves so, yes, you can eat this type of cracked tomato. Radial cracks are often deeper and can even split the fruit asunder. These deeper wounds open the fruit up to insect attack as well as fungus and bacterial infection. None of these sounds particularly appetizing, so are these split tomatoes safe to eat?
If there looks like infestation or infection, to be on the safe side, I would probably toss the offending fruit into the compost. That said, if it looks minimal, eating tomatoes that are split open is fine, especially if you cut out the area surrounding the crack.
If you have cracking tomatoes, it’s best to eat them right away if that is the eventual plan rather than let them linger. If you see a tomato that is just beginning to show signs of cracking, harvest it and let it finish ripening on the windowsill or counter. If you leave it on the vine, the cracking will just accelerate as the fruit continues to absorb water.
- Water Regularly and Deeply. You should water your tomato plants every two to three days during the summer. When you water, water at ground level because spraying the leaves can result in the spread of diseases like blight and septoria) and water deeply. Regular, deep watering will reduce the effect of a sudden rainstorm because your plants won’t be going from dry conditions to sudden wet conditions, which causes splitting.
- Mulch. Provide your plants with a good two to three-inch layer of organic mulch such as straw, pine needles, or shredded bark. This will maintain more regular soil moisture levels, and you’ll deal with less splitting.
- Look for Resistant Varieties. In general, the thicker the skin, the less prone a tomato is to splitting. Most modern hybrids seem to resist splitting.
- Pick Tomatoes Early. Your tomatoes are almost ripe, and you’re expecting a major rainstorm. Now is the perfect time to pick your tomatoes before they’re overwhelmed by extra moisture. Tomatoes will ripen on or off the vine, so go ahead and harvest those that look nearly reading for picking.
- Provide Good Drainage. By planting your tomatoes in raised gardens or placing crushed seashells at the bottom of containers or planting holes you can lessen the possibility that your tomatoes will be oversaturated by water. In addition, the extra calcium provided by seashells may strengthen the tomatoes, making them less prone to cracking.
by Matt Gibson
Are you having problems with your cherry tomatoes splitting? Sometimes cherry tomatoes split on the vine before they can be harvested. Splitting cherry tomatoes is a common occurrence for many vegetable gardeners, and is usually due to a change in moisture levels in the soil around the tomato plant. Here’s a guide to preventing cherry tomatoes (a type of tomato that is particularly susceptible to splitting issues) from splitting, cracking, and catfacing on and off the vine.
If there was an extended dry period, and then a large rain, or sudden extreme overwatering, your cherry tomato harvest may become too full of water and expand too quickly for the tomato skin to adjust, causing the outer skin to split from the pressure. The inside of the tomato grows faster than the skin and the tomato cracks under pressure. All kinds of tomatoes are susceptible to splitting, but cherry tomatoes, due to their size, are the most likely tomatoes to split.
For a gardener who is planning to eat their own produce, seeing tomatoes going to waste is a disaster. Luckily, there are lots of ways in which you can keep your precious tomatoes from going to waste.
How to Water Cherry Tomatoes: Evenly, Deeply, and Often
The most important thing you can do to keep your tomatoes from splitting is to provide a consistent, evenly distributed, and ample source of water to your plants. The summer time is the prime time for splitting, so the summer months are the most crucial time to keep a strict watering schedule. During the entire season, water your tomato plants deeply every two to three days.
Water the plants down low to the ground, as spraying will get the leaves wet, which can lead to hard-to-kill diseases such as leaf blight and septoria. Water deeply, but make sure that the soil is draining properly. If there is any standing water, rot and fungal infections can become an issue. Deep watering will keep rainstorms from being the reason for splitting, as the plants will be used to a healthy dose of moisture, and will be less likely to expand the fruit too drastically.
Watering often will also keep your tomato plants from having to endure drastic changes in moisture levels. Without having to suffer sudden shifts from dry soil conditions to wet soil conditions, splitting will cease to be an issue.
Watering deeply, making sure that you provide an evenly distributed layer of one to two inches of water to the entire garden bed that you are using for tomato cultivation at least once per week, will eliminate the possibility of cracked tomatoes. If you are growing your tomatoes in containers, watering should occur once per day, as containers tend to drain and lose moisture at a faster rate than planting directly into the ground.
When to Pick Cherry Tomatoes
If your tomatoes are near ripe, go ahead and pick them a little bit early. If you leave them on the vine and a rainstorm comes a roaring, your tomatoes could be exposed to an overwhelming dose of extra H2O. Since tomatoes continue to ripen off the vine, go ahead and snatch them up before the next storm comes barreling down.
Growing Cherry Tomatoes in Raised Beds
The more compact, drier soil of a flat-earth garden is more prone to issues with cracking and splitting. Growing your tomatoes in a raised bed may solve the issue entirely. Raised beds allow heavy rains to drain away more sharply and quickly through their less compacted and stepped on soil.
Mulching Your Beds
One of the issues that can cause tomatoes to split is fluctuations in the temperature. This is especially true for newly transplanted tomato plants and temperature fluctuations during the springtime. The best way to prevent splitting that is caused by temperature changes is to mulch your tomato plants, adding a two-inch layer to the top of your garden beds. Red plastic mulch is the best choice for tomatoes, but any organic mulch,such as wood chips or plastic, will help prevent cracking, conserve moisture in the soil, and prevent the spreading of disease.
Provide Ample Drainage for Cherry Tomatoes
Proper drainage is key to providing a consistent and sufficient supply of water to your tomato plants and it can also help you avoid cracking and splitting. If you are planting directly into the ground, make raised beds for the location or locations in which you are growing tomatoes. If you are using containers, try adding crushed seashells to the bottom of the container before adding in the potting mix. Not only will the seashells improve the drainage, but the extra calcium that they provide, will strenghten the skin and stems of the tomatoes, making them less prone to splitting and cracking.
Correct Tomato Harvesting Technique
Oftentimes, tomatoes crack just from being haphazardly removed from the vine. Instead of plucking your tomatoes by hand, harvest your tomatoes by cutting them off the vine just above the calyx with a pair of pruning shears or a sharp pair of scissors.
Grow Resistant Cherry Tomato Varieties
One simple solution is to grow a different variety of tomato that is less likely to split, crack, or catface. If you are growing cherry tomatoes, a similar size and type of tomato that is less likely to split on or off the vine, is the grape tomato. If you live in an area with lots of fluctuation in rainfall and you don’t like to water your garden manually, you might consider growing grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes.
Many tomato varieties have a thick skin, and the thicker the skin, the less likely to split and crack. Most modern hybrids have been developed to resist cracking and splitting as well, so there are plenty of split resistant alternatives if you do a little research before deciding which varieties to grow.
Should Cracked Tomatoes Be Thrown Out?
Cracking, especially on larger heirloom tomatoes near the stems, is perfectly natural and should not keep you from harvesting them or leaving them on the stem. Even split tomatoes are still perfectly edible, though they are much more at risk for developing rot or inviting pests that you do not want to consume. While the tips and tricks discussed in this article will help prevent splitting and cracking, you will still probably run into split tomatoes occasionally. Fortunately, they are still perfectly edible, so feel free to harvest and eat them after checking for bugs or discoloration.
Sometimes, tomatoes will even split once they are off of the vine, when you are just sitting down to enjoy them atop a fresh bed of lettuce and croutons. The cracking always occurs right after you rinse them off. This is because washing them off allows water to pass through the membranes of the skin, causing the fruit to swell and possibly split or burst. As long as a lot of time doesn’t go by after the tomatoes split before you consume them, you are most likely perfectly safe to do so.
Videos About How To Keep Your Tomatoes From Splitting?
Check out this step by step guide from Project Diaries about keeping your tomato harvest safe from cracking and splitting:
This video teaches you how to prevent splitting, catfacing, and cracking and explains the three main reasons why splitting naturally occurs, highlighting an extremely useful way to regulate the watering of your tomato plants, a drip irrigation system:
Watch this tutorial video to learn when is the best time to pick your tomatoes to avoid having them split open before you can get them on a dinner table:
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