If you’re a health-conscious person then you might be worrying about the black spots on tomatoes. It is not uncommon to buy or grow tomatoes with black spots.
But, are tomatoes with black spots safe to eat?
Yes, you can enjoy tomatoes with black spots. But, you must peel the black spot on the tomato skin. Apart from this, you must know the root cause of the black spot.
If your tomatoes have rotten part, then you must slice that part and have the remaining fruit. But, you should decide it after examining it, is it worth having?
Blossom end-rot and fungal infection are two main causes of black spots.
Normally, store-bought tomatoes are free from blossom end rot because they are harvested before they turn red. But, they are prone to a fungal disease caused by anthracnose.
In this write-up, I’ll discuss about the causes of these black spots, types of black spots and how you can avoid it.
Can You Eat Tomatoes with Black Spots?
It depends on the type and extent of black spot.
In most cases you can just slice the black spot off and enjoy the remaining tomato.
You can remove cosmetic blemishes, such as those on the skin of tomatoes, by cutting them away. However, if the fungus has affected the inner part of the tomato, it is advisable to discard the fruit.
Do not consume tomatoes with internal black spots. It is better to discard them. These internal black spots often indicate the presence of rot or spoilage, which can result in an unpleasant taste and is associated with potential health risks.
Mold on Tomatoes: Is it safe?
If you see white moldy tomatoes in your kitchen, it is time to throw them away before it spreads to other healthy tomatoes.
Los Angeles County Public Works, recommends adding mold vegetables like tomatoes to compost bin. It is safe for compost, as the microorganism carryout the decomposition process. However, be careful while adding mold vegetables to worm castings.
You may think of slicing affected part of tomato and consume the rest. But, as few molds are toxic and can make you sick it is recommended by experts to avoid consuming moldy tomatoes.
Even after removing moldy part of tomato, harmful microorganisms can be residing in other part of the fruit.
Dr.Weil states that it is safe to cut the mold part on hard foods like carrots and cheese, but it is not safe on soft foods like tomatoes.
Also Read: How to get rid of aphids and flea beetles?
You should also avoid tomatoes with moldy stems.
Even if the tomato stem has mold it should be avoided.
I understand it may sound like you’re wasting food, but to keep yourself healthy you must listen to health experts.
However, in some cases even after having mold tomatoes you may not feed sick or have any serious ailments. But, this doesn’t mean that moldy tomatoes are safe to eat.
What Causes Black Spots on Tomatoes?
Blossom end rot is one of the common causes of black spots in tomatoes. Along with this, fungal diseases caused by Anthracnose, Bacterial speck and Alternaria results in black spots on tomatoes.
Apart from this, there are several other factors including temperature fluctuation, improper watering, low levels of nutrients or any physical damage.
These diseases can thrive in warm, humid conditions, making your tomatoes particularly vulnerable during wet or muggy weather.
A group of fungi species cause anthracnose in vegetables.
Both ripe and unripe tomatoes can be affected by this disease. Initially, small circular spots appear on the fruit, which increase with time.
In most cases, signs of anthracnose can’t be seen in unripe tomatoes until ripen.
You can use organic fungicide to get rid of anthracnose in tomatoes.
2. Alternaria Canker
This disease is caused by a fungus; signs of brown to black cankers appear on stems, leaves and fruit.
Dead tissue on stems is caused due to toxic released by fungi.
Alternaira canker causing fungus habitat in moist and wet environment, so to avoid you shouldn’t overwater your plants and ensure it gets enough sunlight to evaporate excess moisture.
3. Bacterial Speck
Bacterial speak is caused by a bacteria that survives in moist and wet environment. It can be spread through soil and seeds of diseases tomato plants.
Dark brown to black lesion can be seen in unripe and ripe tomatoes. In some cases you can also see lesion on leaves.
In severe cases, bacterial speak can stunt plant growth and delay the harvest.
4. Blossom end rot
Deficiency of calcium is held main cause of blossom end rot. (Source)
Low levels of this nutrient break cells in young fruit resulting in black or brown spots.
Inadequate watering, choosing wrong soil and high temperature are said to cause deficiency in calcium.
Studies also show that high levels of ammonium nitrogen in the growing medium reduce plant’s ability to uptake calcium, thus resulting in this disease.
Check this: How to Use Neem Oil for Tomato Plants?
Types of Black Spots on Tomatoes
Before consuming tomatoes with black spots, it is important to known different types of black spots and how it impacts the edibility of tomatoes.
Black spots on tomatoes can be categorized into two main types: cosmetic blemishes and internal issues.
- Cosmetic blemishes are black spots that affect only superficial layer of tomato’s skin. These spots are usually harmless and can often be removed by simply slicing the discolored area. Though they are not visually appealing, these black spots are typically safe to eat.
- On other hand, internal issues penetrate the tomato’s flesh. This inner black spot can indicate more severe problems, such as rot or decay. Health experts don’t recommend consuming such tomatoes with internal black spots, as they may have a compromised taste and pose health risks.
Also Read: Why Are Eggshells Good for Tomato Plants?
How to Pick a Good Tomato?
To make an informed decision about eating tomatoes with black spots, follow these tips to assess the tomato’s quality:
Ensure black spots are limited to skin and inner tomato is good. You should carefully inspect the tomato for the type and extent of black spots. If they are limited to the skin, consider consuming it.
Smell and Touch: Trust your senses. If the tomato has an off-putting smell or feels mushy, it’s best to discard it.
Taste Test: If you’re unsure about the flavor, take a small bite of the unaffected portion. If it tastes fine, you can use the tomato in your cooking.
How to Cook or Prepare Tomatoes with Black Spots?
There are various ways to incorporate tomatoes with black spots into your culinary creations.
Soups, sauces, and stews can be great options, as cooking can help mask any remaining imperfections.
Additionally, consider preserving tomatoes by canning or making homemade tomato sauce.
Also Read: White Lines on Tomato Leaves
How to Prevent Black Spots on Tomatoes?
With good gardening, you can prevent or minimize black spots on tomatoes.
- Provide adequate air circulation: While planting tomatoes, ensure seedlings are planting with enough space to avoid any issue.
- Watering at right time; is the most important guideline to be followed to avoid blossom end rot and black spots. You should avoid overwatering and underwatering tomato plants.
- To retain necessary moisture and to protect root system from fluctuating temperature, you should arrange hay grass as mulch around tomato plant.
- Disease Management: Use organic or chemical treatments to manage common fungal diseases like anthracnose.
You don’t have to worry about black spots on tomatoes. It is perfectly safe to eat, once you remove or slice the black part.
However, if you notice black spots in internal parts, then you should avoid consuming it.
Tomatoes with mold shouldn’t be consumed at any stage. Even slicing won’t help you to use moldy tomatoes. However, as a gardener you can add them to your compost pile.
Microorganisms contribute in decomposition process and help to convert kitchen scraps to essential nutrients.
Best way is to protect your tomatoes from fungal infection and avoid nutritional deficiency. A healthy gardening practice can minimize the risk of black spots on tomatoes.