Are Tomatoes With Black Spots Safe To Eat?

Sometimes when you’re buying or growing your tomatoes, it isn’t uncommon to discover one or more black spots on the surface of the tomato. So now you’re wondering whether they are safe to eat?

The answer is yes, with a huge but.

First of all, you need to know and understand what is causing the black spots on your tomatoes.

If the area looks rotten and sunken, then you’re probably dealing with an issue known as Blossom end rot. This problem isn’t uncommon when growing your own tomatoes. It is a physiological issue with the plant caused by a calcium imbalance that affects the tomatoes themselves. Blossom end rot is less common when buying store-bought tomatoes as they should be removed during picking and packing. If you cut out the affected areas, you can eat these tomatoes, but you should consider whether it is worth the risk.

The most common cause of black spots on tomatoes you purchase in the store is a fungal issue known as Anthracnose (Colletotrichum coccodes).

Anthracnose is caused by fungi that thrive in humid conditions such as those in which tomatoes are most often grown. So it is a common issue. The dark areas on the tomato are dead and often look soft as if starting to rot. 

If you buy in tomatoes when they are unripe, you’ll not always notice the dark spots until the tomato ripens, at which point they become more visible. It can even take up to six days for the lesions to become apparent on the fruit.

So long as you cut away the affected areas of the tomato, you can eat tomatoes affected by the black spots created by anthracnose. If the inside of the tomato is affected, cut away that area as well, or if you have plenty of tomatoes, avoid it altogether and put it in the recycling for compost.

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