Frankly, tomatoes are among the most delicate plants. From planting to harvest times, the fruits are vulnerable to many things, including diseases and pests. One of the ways to know that there’s a problem with tomatoes is by noticing holes in them. But why do you see holes in your tomatoes?
There are holes in your tomatoes because either a tomato hornworm, fruitworm, or a slug ate it. Else, during the process of growth, something went wrong in the initial stages of the tomato flowering process. You can eat hollow tomatoes. Just cut the hollow area(s) and eat the rest of the tomato.
This article also answers when it is safe to eat your tomatoes and how to prevent the hollow issue in the future. So what? You definitely have to read it to the end.
Also Check: Squash Bugs On Tomato Plants
Can You Eat Hollow Tomatoes?
It is absolutely fine and safe to eat tomatoes with holes in them. Here’s why. After a while, the holes dry up. This is a sign that the hole is healed, and you must thoroughly clean it before cutting away the hollow sections.
Can you eat tomatoes with holes in them? Yes, hollow tomatoes are edible and safe unless they are rotten or unripe.
Even so, be sure to carefully check inside the tomatoes to ensure there are no pests, such as slugs hiding in there.
When Should You Not Eat Tomatoes?
You should not eat tomatoes if:
- They are rotten
- They are unripe
Rotten tomatoes, according to Mrs. Chistiana who is the deputy director of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), cause cancer. Seriously, I did not know this!
Like me, you may have thought that cooking rotten tomatoes destroy all life-threatening organisms. Not so, according to Mrs. Chistiana. She confirms that there are cancer-causing microorganisms in rotten tomatoes, and thus, we need to throw such tomatoes away rather than cook them.
Though Mrs. Chistiana was addressing the Nigerians, common sense says rotten tomatoes are all over the world, and none is safe!
So, regardless of where you come from, remember that the fungi found in rotten tomatoes produce mycotoxins, according to the deputy director. Not only are these toxins cancer inducers but also death-causing! Plus, they also weaken your immune system.
Unripe tomatoes are green and contain solanine. While this is a good chemical for your tomato plants, it is harmful for your consumption.
I’ll explain at length.
To keep off tomato invaders, for example, fungi, pests, bacteria, and viruses, the tomatoes contain a bitter taste. This glycoalkaloid compound attributed to solanine is not only bitter but poisonous, thereby discouraging pests from eating the growing tomatoes.
While even the ripe tomatoes have a smaller amount of solanine, at least a kg of ripe tomatoes may contain no more than 5 mg of solanine.
On the other hand, green tomatoes have the highest amount. To be specific, a kg of green tomatoes contains about 500 mg of solanine.
Why Are There Holes In My Tomatoes?
There are several possible causes for holes in tomatoes. Let me list them:
- Tomato hornworm
- Pollination problem
Let me discuss this, so you verify what’s affecting your tomatoes.
One of the ways to know that your tomatoes are under attack by the fruitworm is by seeing them rot after ripening about one or two days before. Getting closer, you will notice holes on your tomatoes as evidence a fruitworm ate them. But these warm also eat the tomato leaves.
While it is safe to eat hollow tomatoes, in some instances, it may be impossible especially if the larvae form of this pest has found its way into your tomato and eaten the inside completely. That’s to say, only the tomato covering remains intact, which equally collapses when you try to pick your ‘good looking’ tomatoes, unaware of the mess inside.
Being 1.5 to 2 inches long, fruitworms invade tomato stems alongside the fruits and leaves. They completely damage the tomato plants if measures are not taken early enough. Based on the size of the invader, you’re likely to see pests of different colors, for example, red, yellow, orange, and green.
If you have noticed that the pest doing damage to the tomato plant does so at night, it is likely a tomato hornworm. This green pest hides under the green tomato leaves during the day so that it becomes hard to spot it.
At night though, it comes out. Apart from defoliating a tomato plant, these pests also make holes in tomato fruits.
Apart from holes, you can tell if hornworms attacked your plants when you notice black droppings on your tomato fruits, leaves, or stems. The residue, at times, may be dark green.
If it is a small kitchen garden, start removing the pests using your hands. It is essential to wear gloves, though, while doing this.
You can as well use an effective pesticide if you can not tolerate the thought of using your hands to kill the pests. The same applies if your garden is too big to remove manually.
Better still, you can introduce wasps to your farm. Here’s what happens. The wasps, specifically the Braconid wasp, lay eggs on hornworms. The larvae, during the hatching process, feed on the viscera of the hornworms invading your tomatoes. Consequently, they kill the hornworms instantly. This is an economical method. Plus, it is a sure way of saving your tomato plants all year.
Else, you can use a pesticide. But, if buying a pesticide is too much for you, consider making a homemade spray. Some of the most common gradients to use when making a homemade hornworm killer spray include dish soap, cayenne pepper, and water.
Probably, no noticeable pests are invading your tomatoes. So, Why do I have holes in my tomatoes? You ask.
Well, it is likely a pollination problem. Firstly, it could be that the tomatoes did not pollinate successfully. Well, tomatoes self-pollinate. Nonetheless, wind and insects such as bees make pollination more effective.
A pollination problem occurs if the plant doesn’t self-pollinate and there are not enough insects or wind.
The results? Hollow tomatoes. Though bees may also help eliminate the pollination problem, the wind is more effective. So, if there’s not enough wind, help the plants pollinate by shaking the tomato stems. This, however, is only applicable to small tomato gardens.
On the other hand, undesirable temperatures may cause pollination havoc, too. This, however, depends on your tomato variety. If during the blooming period, there were extremely low temperatures of, say, below 55, a pollination problem is likely to occur.
High temperates are no better – they sterilize the tomato pollen. If they go above 90, then a pollination problem occurs. Watering your tomatoes consistently as desired is helpful in such hot weather conditions.
Could you be wondering, “Why do my tomatoes have holes in the bottom?” Well, slugs also love feeding on tomato fruits, especially ripe ones. It is easy, though, to tell if slugs are attacking your tomatoes because they leave a silvery slime trail. Tomato holes caused by slugs are usually irregular.
Sadly, ripe tomatoes are the exact environment that favors slugs. See, they love moist, dark areas. Such is what they get when they eat tomatoes and hide inside.
I hope you are not going to grab such a raw tomato and eat only to realize that you put a tomato plus a slug in your mouth (shaking my head!).
Knowing that slugs love moist zones helps to know that you should not overwater your tomatoes. Otherwise, you will be creating a conducive environment for your tomato enemies.
How Can You Tell If A Tomato Is Poisonous?
You can tell if a tomato is poisonous if it has a green color. The green color is evidence of the presence of solanine compound. Such tomatoes are dangerous. However, cleaning and cutting the hollow parts leaves you with an edible tomato as long as it is ripe.
Are Tomato Seeds Poisonous?
Tomato seeds are not poisonous, so taking them is safe. The seeds are rich in fiber, which is essential for food digestion. Other vital nutrients found in tomato seeds include amino acids as well as vitamin C.
But, even safe things shouldn’t be taken in surplus. Moderation is key. Right? So, do not eat too many tomato seeds.
What do you think of hollow tomatoes now? Can you eat tomatoes with holes in them? From the article above, it is all right to eat hollow tomatoes. Only avoid: green (unripe) or rotten tomatoes as each of them has chemicals that could cause death, cancer, or other adverse effects on your health.
That said, try your best to rid your farm off slugs, fruitworm, and tomato hornworms. To avoid counting losses and harvesting hollow tomatoes, ensure that your tomatoes are well pollinated by planting them in the right season and watering accordingly.