Growing tomatoes most time is a gamble. You must battle diseases, insects, drought, and heat destroying your crop. You notice green goo in tomatoes during harvest as if it’s not enough.
What is it, and how does it occur? As a worried gardener, these are likely your top questions.
Green goo isn’t a discoloration but chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is responsible for the growth of tomatoes, and it’s what makes the green substance. Green goo shows premature picking of the tomato or environmental stress. The green goo is ok and easy to correct if you let the fruit ripen after harvest.
Keep reading to understand more about the green goo, if it’s safe and how to correct it.
Also Check: Can I Eat Tomatoes That Have Been Bitten?
What Is The Green Stuff In Tomatoes?
The green stuff in tomatoes is a result of excess chlorophyll cells. Chlorophyll makes and gives the green color to all plants. This way, it’s easy for photosynthesis to occur.
Nonetheless, all tomatoes have a jelly substance inside. It’s a protective coating for the seeds and acts as a source of energy after the seed sprouts.
What Causes The Green Goo In Tomatoes?
There are several causes for the greenish substance inside the tomatoes.
Here are some of them;
Lack or excess of one of the natural environmental factors such as water, sunlight, and temperature can lead to your tomatoes being green inside.
As mentioned, the green goo can occur from the prematurity of the tomatoes. Without a doubt, tomatoes thrive well under much sunlight, allowing ripening from the inside out.
Depending on the type of tomato, the external layer matures by hardening first and turning color. In most cases, therefore, people pick their tomatoes before they develop fully. This makes the fruits not receive enough sunlight, which could help in proper development.
Usually, chlorophyll breaks down when the tomatoes are ripening. The tomato seeds carry chlorophyll. This is the green color in plants that captures light for photosynthesis. That’s why you’ll see some tomato varieties turning red from the green color.
So, any environmental factors affecting tomato growth can lead to chlorophyll retention. This means the chlorophyll refuses to break down altogether; hence the tomatoes remain green inside.
Plants, too, experience stress. So, the green goo in tomatoes can also result from stress.
For instance, tomatoes can feel stress when they transition from season to season, affecting their growth.
Also, improper watering of tomatoes can affect the maturity of the root system. When the roots don’t develop properly, the tomato fails to ripen.
Extreme levels of nitrogen, wind, and heat can stress the tomatoes causing them not to ripen inside, even with a red or any other colored exterior.
Sometimes, the green goo isn’t a problem. There are tomato varieties with a naturally green inside or both inside and outside.
Are Tomatoes Okay If They Are Green Inside?
There’s nothing wrong with eating tomatoes that are green inside. Some of them have a natural green even after ripening. Others are unripe but don’t have any negative impact.
It’s common to conform to beliefs that everything growing the way it shouldn’t is toxic. Most people think the plant was diseased and passed on to the fruit.
According to experts, the greenish gel in tomatoes is safe to eat because it improves blood circulation, which prevents blood clots.
However, the taste is noticeably different from a ripe tomato. The unripe tomato tastes tangy, somewhat bitter on the tongue, and less juicy. If this taste doesn’t bother you, go ahead and bite in. But, you could try frying the tomatoes with green inside for a better-cooked taste.
Alternatively, you can try maturing the unripe tomatoes to have them taste better.
How Do Tomatoes Ripen?
As much as tomatoes are sun-loving plants, sunlight is unnecessary for fruit ripening. Excess sunlight tends to harden the outer skin. Better still, avoid pulling off the leaves as this exposes the fruit to so much daylight.
What works better than sunlight is warmth. Usually, warmth quickens the ripening period of tomatoes. Therefore, never think of putting your unripe tomatoes in the fridge, as this degrades their texture and nutrients. Conversely, avoid extreme warmth on your unripe tomatoes because it stops the ripening.
Tomatoes breathe out ethane. This natural hormone controls its growth to make it ripen by changing starch into stored sugar. This is a typical characteristic of all fruits; tomato fruit is no exception.
After harvesting, you can trap the ethane using a paper bag. You can add a ripe banana to help boost the tomato’s giving off ethane to speed up ripening. Ensure you maintain the average ripening temperature of 70 to 75F.
The average ripening period of tomatoes is from 6-8weeks. However, this depends on the tomato variety you have.
How to Know If Tomatoes Are Ripe
The greenish color inside a tomato shows that it’s unripe. Tomatoes start to ripen from the inside out. But even if it looks red and ripe on the outside and green inside, it’s not ripe.
You can tell a ripe tomato from the following characteristics:
- Deep color shades according to the variety
- Easily removed from the vine when picking
- Fresh, strong smell
- Shiny skin
- Tender when touched
Is It Ok To Use Overripe Tomatoes?
Throwing away your overripe tomatoes adds to the waste and denies you the chance to experience excellent flavors.
Unless you notice mold, smelly leakage, or odor, you can still use and eat your overripe tomatoes. Otherwise, discard the rotten tomatoes or, better still, make compost.
So, how do you use your overripe tomatoes — those that have only lost firmness but are still good? Even though they can’t hold up well for a good salad, it doesn’t mean they are useless.
The simple solution for your overripe tomato dilemma is to make a sauce. They just don’t make an ordinary sauce, but a fantastic one.
For instance, you can simmer your sweet overripe tomatoes with salt, olive oil, and garlic and then use it as a base sauce for different recipes. So, you can store it in the freezer and defrost it to use anytime you want.
The simmered overripe tomato sauce can be a base for soup or pasta. You can also cook meat in the tomato sauce or convert the sauce into a curry by adding honey, garam masala, or garlic. There are endless tomato paste recipes to make exciting meals.
How Can You Tell When Tomatoes Are Bad?
If you have awkward-looking tomatoes and are unsure whether to use them, here’s how you can tell if they are bad.
- Color: If the color is not deep and genuine as per the variety and has some discoloration, don’t use it but discard the tomato.
- Mold spots: Mold is a reliable sign that your tomato is not suitable to use. The mold is green or black spots or whitish on the skin.
- Feel: Feel the tomato slightly without squeezing when buying or before use. It should feel somewhat firm and not sink in. The sinking shows it’s terrible and non-suitable for eating.
- Leakage: When it starts leaking some fluid, you need to discard it immediately.
- Smell: If the odor is foul and bitter, the tomato is rotten and needs discarding immediately.
- Fruit flies: When you notice fruit flies on your tomatoes, it shows they are going bad, if not already bad. Preferably, put your tomatoes in the freezer to keep off fruit flies.
Remember, a wrinkled tomato isn’t necessarily rotten. The wrinkled skin shows aging in most cases and needs you to use it immediately. However, it’s not safe to consume if there’s odor, mold, or any sign of rotting.
Other times, the external signs aren’t enough to tell if a tomato is sour. You need to check the inside as well. So, first, slice your tomato. If it feels unnaturally slimy, discard it. Also, throw it away if it has mold spots, black seeds inside, or some foul odor.
What Makes Tomatoes Go Bad?
When you properly store your tomatoes, they last longer. However, poor storage makes them go bad quicker than you expect.
Some poor storage conditions are like;
- Keeping ripe tomatoes in a plastic bag makes them overripe and rot
- Refrigerating your ripe tomatoes lasts longer but ruins the flavor and taste when cooking or eating them raw
- Piling up tomatoes when storing bruises them, thereby causing rot
You’ve got to agree that tomatoes are very delicate to grow. Therefore, the slightest mistake in their growth from your end can lead to poor development. See, even harvesting tomatoes need a lot of caution!
However, they are also the most consumed vegetable fruits globally. That’s why the awkward appearance of green goo in tomatoes raises a lot of concern. Most people wonder if it’s ok to consume it that way or what to do to change it to an ordinary nature.
Luckily, the above guide helps you understand where to proceed and where to draw the line in consuming your tomatoes.