Are cracked tomatoes safe to eat?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “Are cracked tomatoes safe to eat?”. We will discuss why tomatoes crack and ways to reduce cracking. We will also look at the possible risks of eating cracked tomatoes.

Are cracked tomatoes safe to eat?

Yes, if the crack is minor and superficial, impacting only the tomato’s surface, it’s probably fine to consume. It’s never a bad idea to be extra cautious. After cleaning the tomato, slice around the crack and utilize what’s left, throwing the damaged piece.

A wider crack invites bacteria and fungus to take up residence, resulting in decay. If a crack is broad or deep and cuts into the pulp, it’s best to put the tomato into the compost heap or the trash.

Why do tomatoes crack?

Uneven watering

Uneven watering causes cracks to form. Cracks will appear if there are drier climates followed by rain or if there is heavy watering. The tomato’s skin can’t extend to accommodate all of the moisture accumulating inside the fruit.

The tomato can “heal” itself and seal the crack, resulting in what seems to be stitching, or the crack might widen until the tomato is worthless. 

Because concentric cracks are generally little and heal quickly, you may consume this form of cracked tomato. Radial fractures are typically deeper and have the potential to break the fruit in half.

Less calcium absorption

Cracking is also caused by a deficiency of calcium (which can also be caused by irregular hydration) and thinner skin at the physiological level. The tomato fruits can only absorb calcium when the roots are actively absorbing, thus if the soil dries, the plant will not be able to absorb calcium. 

Because calcium is required for the formation of cell walls, a shortage of calcium results in weaker cell walls that are more likely to burst, resulting in cracking.

Cracking is more common in some tomato types, while tomatoes with stronger skins are less prone to split, although any tomato may crack.

How to reduce tomatoes from cracking?

Consistent watering is the best way to stop tomatoes from cracking.

While you may not be able to regulate the weather, you may attempt to water as frequently as possible. A constant level of moisture keeps your crops happy and helps to avoid splits and cracks.

Irrigate at the soil surface, and use a rain gauge to monitor local precipitation rates. Summer crops will almost certainly require more watering during times of dry and hot.

Remember that container-grown crops will require more regular watering than plants that grow in the ground since the soil may dry up more rapidly.

When you are on vacation, use drip irrigation and place your sprinkler system on a timer to ensure your plants stay hydrated.

Deep plant your tomatoes. The tomatoes would be able to channel into water deep through into subsoil if you’ve planted them deep enough. This will make them more sturdy.

It’s critical to apply mulch if your location experiences hot, dry summers. Mulch keeps the soil damp and cool, preventing it from drying up in the sun. The best protection against dry spells is a combination of mulch and deep tomato planting.

Although a calcium deficiency is doubtful if your tomatoes also are receiving more than enough water and you’re utilizing mulch and deep planting, you can add calcium manure or even crushed/blended eggshells to your soil. Slow-release calcium may be found in abundance in eggshells.

Are there any risks of eating cracked tomatoes?

Yes, a badly split open tomato can attract fruit flies and become infested with fungus, mold, and bacteria.

Smaller cracks along the top which are white, brown, or black are also fine to eat, but the cracked portion should be trimmed away. If you see mold forming in the gaps, take off the top of the tomato and save the remainder for eating.

If you’re canning tomatoes, skip the cracked tomatoes. It is, however, totally acceptable to cut around the cracks in a tomato and use the excellent sections in salads, sandwiches, salsas, and sauces. The flavor of the tomatoes remains unaffected in the uncracked portions.

If a tomato begins to crack as it gets closer to ripening, remove it and place it on the kitchen counter to finish ripening. Keeping it on the plant will just make matters worse as the crop absorbs more water.

If you have cracked tomatoes, it’s preferable to eat them as soon as possible if that’s the goal.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question, “Are cracked tomatoes safe to eat?”. We discussed why tomatoes crack and ways to reduce cracking. We also looked at the possible risks of eating cracked tomatoes.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

References

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/are-split-tomatoes-safe-to-eat.htm
https://www.treehugger.com/are-cracked-tomatoes-still-edible-4858032

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.