Can you eat wrinkled tomatoes?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat wrinkled tomatoes?” and discuss when they start to get wrinkled?

Can you eat wrinkled tomatoes?

Yes, you can eat wrinkled tomatoes. Tomatoes with wrinkles are okay to consume as long as there are no molds, fractures in the skin, or soft patches on the skin. In contrast to firm tomatoes, overripe tomatoes are sweeter and juicier. Sauces, salsas, stews, and sauces are the best uses for these tomatoes. Wrinkles indicate the dehydration of the fruit due to water loss after its long storage (1).

Tomato fruit is a berry with a high nutritional content, whose postharvest losses in developing countries range from 25 to 50% of the production as a result of physiological disorders and lack of adequate storage technologies to control ripening and senescence (1).

There are no textural defects in cooked tomatoes, thus a wrinkled tomato tastes better than a hard one. It’s OK as long as they aren’t becoming soft and moldy, which are signs of decay. Usually, wrinkles are only a sign that they’re starting to dry. Wrinkles appear on the outside of the tomato when the liquids within diminish in volume. 

Alternatively, you may slice the tomatoes and place them in a food dehydrator to finish the procedure. Tomatoes may be preserved and rehydrated at a later time by drying and then dehydrating them.

Tomatoes that are overripe but not quite rotten

Tomatoes deteriorate quickly because of their high water and sugar content. The skin may become damaged or wrinkled as a result of its softening. During ripening, a decrease in the firmness of the fruits is normal as a consequence of the ethylene production, which increases the synthesis of polygalacturonase, an enzyme responsible for softening (1).

The skin of overripe tomatoes is soft and wrinkled, making it easier to tell them apart. Tomatoes become better as they get older, regardless of their appearance. When tomatoes are ripe, they have a sweeter flavor and become juicier. Sauces, salsas, stews, and sauces may all be made with these overripe tomatoes.

During storage and ripening of the tomatoes, there is a decrease in the vitamin C amount of the fruit. The lycopene content, however, may increase significantly over the storage, depending on the storage condition. In a study, the increase in the lycopene concentration was explained by the biosynthesis of lycopene induced by ripening and the low oxidation of this carotenoid as a result of low availability of O2 in the package headspace (2).

Even if they’re somewhat wrinkled and squishy, they’ll appear exactly the same after they’re cooked. And if you cook them at a high temperature, their flavor will deepen and become more concentrated as a result of this.

When do Tomatoes begin to Decay?

The shelf life of fresh tomatoes depends on the variety, the initial microbial load, the storage conditions and (oxygen, light and temperature). This will affect the possible physical and chemical changes that occur in the fruit, such as loss of vitamins, firmness and growth of visual molds (3).

Because we don’t want any rotting or damaged tomatoes in our recipes, we must be cautious while using overripe tomatoes. When a tomato begins to rot, there are a few telltale signs:

  • The skin has ruptured, allowing the liquids to spill out.
  • Squishy or mushy parts of the tomato.
  • Clumps of white or grey mold might be found.
  • A portion of the tomato has sunk in.

Wrinkled tomatoes may still be eaten, however tomatoes that have split the skin are not. As soon as the pulp of a tomato is exposed, germs such as mold may thrive. According to the USDA, delicate fruits and vegetables like tomatoes should be thrown away if they show signs of mold.

Post-harvest disease is typically initiated when a point on the fruit’s surface is compromised, either due to injury or structural vulnerabilities. One major wound is the stem puncture where the fruit was picked. Once an initial infectious agent like bacteria has attacked, it further weakens the surface and leaves it susceptible to infection by other organisms. This is the reason that mold often forms in areas already infiltrated by bacteria. The soft rot serves as an entry point for fungal spores. Various types of mold affect fruit. Penicillium and Rhizopus were two species present in moldy tomatoes. Rhizopus is a white thread-like Mucoralean mold that infects tomatoes. Erwinia carotovora is a type of soft rot that affects the internal substrate, making the fruit collapse in the infected regions (4).

Wrinkled Tomatoes: What’s the Best Way to Use Them?

The soft and wrinkled tomatoes may be used in any cuisine where they will be properly cooked after they’ve reached this stage. A few recipe suggestions are:

  • The marinara sauce was created from scratch. When making a tomato-based meal like chicken cacciatore, add this sauce.
  • Soup made with tomatoes. A spoonful of sour cream and a slice of sourdough bread are the perfect accompaniments. Alternatively, you may try tomato-based soups such as lentil soup, minestrone, or cabbage soup, as well.
  • Stews. In many meals, such as curry and tomato beef stew, the sweetness and tanginess of overripe tomatoes will be welcomed.
  • Eggs with tomatoes. Stir in a couple of eggs after the tomatoes, garlic, and onion have wilted. For a complete supper, you may add cooked shrimp, chicken, or even ham.
  • Tomatoes on top. The tomato should be sautéed in olive oil with capers and a lot of garlic before being served. For any kind of grilled food, you may serve this on crostini or as a side dish.

Try marinara or salsa if you have a lot of ripe, wrinkled tomatoes but aren’t ready to cook with them yet. After putting the sauce in a container, put it in the fridge and use it whenever you need it. For the following seven to ten days, you may rely on your own homemade sauce.

How to Keep Tomatoes From Going Bad in Storage

If you want to incorporate tomatoes in your next cuisine, here are some tips for short-term storage (3).

  • Put the unripe green tomatoes in a single layer in a paper bag or cardboard box. Place them in a cold, dark location until they become red. Every few days, check on your tomatoes to see if any mold is forming.
  • At room temperature and out of direct sunshine, ripe tomatoes may safely be stored. When tomatoes get overripe, you may either utilize them or move them to a new area.
  • Refrigeration is the best place to keep overripe tomatoes. Your delicate fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, should be stored in a low-humidity drawer. Bacteria and mold thrive in high humidity. When stored in the refrigerator, overripe tomatoes have a shelf life of three days at most.
  • Disinfecting the fruit prior storage may increase its shelf life.

If you want to store your tomatoes for up to a year, this article may be of interest to you.

To learn more about eating wrinkled tomatoes click here

Other FAQs about Tomatoes that you may be interested in.

7 ways to preserve tomatoes

How to store homemade tomato sauce?

Are tomatoes acidic?

Can you eat sprouted tomatoes?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat wrinkled tomatoes?” and we discussed when they start to get wrinkled?


  1. Dovale-Rosabal, Gretel, et al. Effect of chitosan-olive oil emulsion coating on quality of tomatoes during storage at ambient conditions. J Berry Res, 2015, 5, 207-218. 
  2. Ahmed, Lubna, et al. Effect of delactosed whey permeate treatment on physico-chemical, sensorial, nutritional and microbial properties of whole tomatoes during postharvest storage. LWT-Food Sci Technol, 2013, 51, 367-374.
  3. Arah, Isaac Kojo, et al. Postharvest handling practices and treatment methods for tomato handlers in developing countries: A mini review. Adv Agric, 2016.
  4. Kider Jr, Joseph T., Samantha Raja, and Norman I. Badler. Fruit senescence and decay simulation. Computer Graphics Forum. Vol. 30. No. 2. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2011.