Can You Eat Split Tomatoes? The Truth May Surprise You.

Tomatoes are known for their juicy and delicious taste that can make any dish better. However, sometimes we might come across split tomatoes, which raises the question – Can we eat split tomatoes? The answer is not as simple as a yes or no, it depends on several factors that we will discuss in this article.

The Science behind Split Tomatoes

Tomatoes can split or crack due to various reasons, including uneven watering, too much sun exposure, and rapid growth. When the tomato expands too quickly, the skin may not be able to keep up, and it results in a split or crack.

However, the split or crack itself is not harmful to eat, as it only affects the outer layer of the tomato. The flesh or inner part of the tomato is still safe to consume, and the tomato can still be used in cooking or salads.

The Risk of Bacteria

While split tomatoes are not dangerous on their own, they can be more prone to bacterial growth. Once the skin is broken, it creates an entry point for bacteria to enter the fruit. If left at room temperature for too long, the tomato can begin to spoil, and harmful bacteria may grow.

To prevent this, it is best to store split tomatoes in the refrigerator, where the cold temperature can slow down bacteria growth. Additionally, it is important to use the tomato as soon as possible to avoid the risk of spoilage.


Consider using split or cracked tomatoes in cooked dishes, where they will be heated to a high enough temperature to kill any bacteria present.

Types of Split Tomatoes

Not all split tomatoes are created equal, and there are different types of splits that can occur. The type of split can affect whether or not the tomato should be consumed.

Hinge Splits:

Hinge splits are small splits near the stem of the tomato. These are usually caused by rapid growth or uneven watering and are not harmful to eat. The tomato can be cut above the split and used as usual.

Radial Splits:

Radial splits occur from the top of the fruit to the bottom and can be more severe than hinge splits. While the tomato itself is still safe to eat, it may not be as visually appealing, and the seeds may spill out. Radial splits should be used as soon as possible and stored in the refrigerator.

Shoulder Splits:

Shoulder splits occur at the shoulder or top of the tomato, where it connects to the stem. These splits can be a sign of over-ripeness and may result in spoiled or mushy flesh. It is best to discard tomatoes with shoulder splits.

How to Prevent Split Tomatoes

Prevention is key when it comes to split tomatoes. While some factors, such as weather and plant variety, may be out of our control, there are still steps we can take to reduce the risk of tomato splitting.


Even watering is essential to prevent tomato splitting. A consistent and regular watering schedule can help prevent fluctuations in soil moisture that can cause splits.


Harvesting tomatoes at the right time can also prevent splitting. If left on the vine for too long, the tomato may become over-ripe and prone to splitting.


Providing proper support for the tomato plant can also prevent splitting. Staking or caging the plant can ensure that the fruit is adequately supported, and there is less pressure on the skin.


In conclusion, split tomatoes are not harmful to eat as long as they are stored and used correctly. However, it is important to be aware of the risk of bacterial growth and to handle split tomatoes with care. To prevent splits, consider providing proper support, timing your harvests, and maintaining an even watering schedule.


Here are some of the most common questions related to split tomatoes:

  • Can you eat tomatoes with black spots?
    Black or brown spots on a tomato can be a sign of bacterial growth or over-ripeness. It is best to discard tomatoes with black spots.
  • Can you eat tomatoes with white insides?
    White insides in a tomato can be a sign of unripe fruit. While not harmful to eat, unripe tomatoes may not have the same taste or texture as fully ripened fruit.
  • Can you eat tomatoes with green shoulders?
    Green shoulders on a tomato can be a sign of under-ripeness or a genetic trait of the variety. While safe to eat, tomatoes with green shoulders may not be as visually appealing as fully ripened fruit.
  • Can you eat tomatoes with blossom end rot?
    Blossom end rot is a common problem in tomatoes, and it is caused by a lack of calcium in the soil. Tomatoes with blossom end rot should be discarded, as the rot can spread and affect the entire fruit.
  • Can you eat tomatoes that are too soft?
    Tomatoes that are too soft or mushy may be a sign of over-ripeness or spoilage. It is best to discard tomatoes that are too soft.


  • Burghardt, L. T. (2017). Cracked Tomatoes: What Causes This Problem And How To Prevent It. Gardening Know How.
  • University of Illinois Extension. (n.d.). Tomato Problems.
  • Ruth, A. (2018). Do You Have To Throw Away Split Tomatoes? Food52.

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