Have you ever found black seeds in tomato and wondered whether you should discard them or just ignore them and if the fruit is still good to consume?
If not, you are probably someone who is not eating too many tomatoes.
I am a big tomato lover and consumer. I love to grow tomatoes and to eat them raw in salads, in homemade tomato paste, or prepared in various recipes. Hence, it is not unusual for me to find black seeds inside tomatoes now and then.
Some people are grossed by these and prefer to pick them out and discard them. I, as long as the tomato looks healthy I simply ignore them.
- Which is the cause of the black seeds in tomatoes?
- Should I pick these up and throw them away?
- Is it safe to eat them or that tomato?
These are a few of the questions I’ll try to answer in this article.
Cause Of Black Seeds In Tomato
While the natural color of the seeds inside of a ripe healthy tomato from a common variety is a greenish-yellow, there are times when you’ll notice darker seeds when you slice up the fruit.
The causes for why some seeds in a tomato fruit turn black or brown can be multiple. However, if the tomato fruit doesn’t have visible signs of disease, decay, a bad smell, or other unpleasant characteristics, it can be consumed in the majority of the cases.
Below are the most common reasons why some of the seeds can turn dark inside a tomato, even though the fruit looks very healthy.
Most of the time, when you find dark seeds inside a tomato that has no signs of disease, it means that the fruit is overripe.
Maybe you have noticed that the seeds inside a watermelon turn darker when the fruit gets riper. Similar to a watermelon, when a tomato is too ripe, some of its seeds will start turning black.
Depending on how overripe the tomato fruit is, you’ll find fewer or more black or brown seeds inside it.
The seeds’ darker color indicates they are ready to germinate. In rare cases, that even happens inside the fruit.
Before the ripe period, the fruit contains a higher level of a plant hormone called Abscisic acid. One of the functions of this hormone is to prevent seed germination inside the fruit.
When the tomato is overripe, the level of this acid drops, and the seeds may begin sprouting. That and because the tomato fruit contains a high moisture level which creates the proper environment for this process to commence.
Tomatoes Picked Too Early
Not always the tomato fruits that contain dark-colored seeds are overripe. That also occurs in tomatoes who were picked up too early or who fell from the plant for one reason or another.
When you harvest a tomato too early (when it’s still green) and you let it on the window’s sill a few weeks to ripe, its seeds or a part of them might turn black or get a darker color.
I don’t know the exact scientific explanation behind this, but it may again have something to do with the dropping of the level of Abscisic acid since the fruits are detached from the plant for so much time.
Blossom End Rot
Blossom end rot (or BER on short) is one of the most common tomato diseases.
Researchers found that the triggering factors for the occurrence of the blossom end rot diseases on tomatoes and other plants are the impossibility of the plant to take calcium from the soil at a fast enough rate to keep up with the growth or an irregular watering schedule.
You can easily identify this condition by the dark area that appears at the bottom of the fruit, where the blossom originally was.
As an effect of the blossom end rot, you may often find black seeds inside the tomato fruit.
I couldn’t find any scientific study on whether the tomatoes affected by blossom end rot can be 100% safely consumed. Yet, I ate plenty of tomatoes affected by BER for years and I never got sick because of that.
I normally remove the affected areas and what’s left of the tomato fruit doesn’t have an unpleasant look, taste, or smell, I consume it both raw or cooked.
However, that’s only my personal opinion and even though there are countless other similar comments of people who consume them posted on Quora and forums, I wouldn’t say that’s 100% safe for all people (especially for those with many allergies).
Until it is scientifically proven that there are no harmful pathogens left after you remove the affected parts, I’d say to consume them based on your own judgment.
Meanwhile, I also found this article posted by Jessica Strickland on N.C. Cooperative Extension, Wayne County Center which likewise supports the fact that the healthy parts are edible.
It is not uncommon to find only one or two black seeds in a perfectly healthy tomato. If the possible reasons mentioned above cannot apply, it might just be a natural cause.
The circumstances which led to the blackened of these may not entirely be known. Probably those seeds simply failed to receive enough nutrients to form a healthy seed or were still young when the fruit stopped growing.
Finding black, brown, or seeds of a darker color inside a healthy tomato fruit is not very unusual. As I have explained in this article, the causes for this condition might vary and the existence of only a few black seeds doesn’t necessarily mean that the tomato cannot be eaten.
If the tomato doesn’t have any unpleasant smell or taste, the fruits can be safely consumed in the majority of the cases. Some people like to remove the black seeds before eating these tomatoes. I, as long as there aren’t too many of them, I usually just ignore them.
You now know the most common reasons why tomatoes can contain those dark seeds.
Do you know any other reasons why we can find black seeds in tomatoes? Leave a comment below and share your view about this problem.