The other day, I reached for a small slicing tomato that I recently purchased from the local grocery store.
Well, it was over a week old, as the holiday rush has pushed me a bit behind on my intended meal plans. Overcome and adapt, right?
I don’t typically enjoy having to buy bland tomatoes from the store, but we’re tumbling towards the middle of winter, and I don’t have anything left from this past summer’s harvest.
Finally finding the time to make one of my incredible casseroles, I reached for the plain slicing tomato that was designated for the dish.
Expecting the ordinary, every day, somewhat tasteless slicing tomato with smooth skin that you typically pick up from the grocery store, I was rather confused when I encountered an odd, bumpy texture….
The tomato was no longer smooth; instead, it felt as if I was launched backwards in time, grasping at the acne-ridden chin on my teenage face.
This tomato was absolutely covered in angry, firm eruptions, reminiscent of the worst breakout you’ve ever had.
Not exactly the most appetizing tomato; is it?
So, let’s talk about these startling little bumps and why they came about….
Why Do Tomatoes Get Pimples and Bumps?
When those little bumps begin showing up on the surface of your perfectly smooth tomatoes, you know your fruits are coming to life.
They’re doing exactly what they were meant to do: reproducing!
Generally, I don’t see this very often among tomatoes.
When I do see these protrusions, it usually means one thing: the tomato is overripe, or is getting quite old.
As the tomato ages, the seeds are more likely to begin germinating and sprouting; once they start to sprout, they press against the flesh of the tomato.
When the seedling has overstayed its welcome, you’ll see it pushing it’s way towards the skin of the tomato, forming a pimple-like protrusion.
Will Tomato Seedlings Grow Out of Tomatoes?
As the seedling presses against the skin of the tomato, the pressure eventually causes the skin to split.
When you think about it, it really is amazing how much force these tiny, infant plants have; tomato skins can be tough, but the seedlings can pop right through them!
As you can see in the photos, the seedlings can and will grow out of the fruit, and it’s pretty fascinating.
Is It Dangerous When Seeds Sprout Inside of Tomatoes?
If you find that the seeds inside of a ripened tomato have sprouted, you should avoid eating the tomato if possible.
If not, you must scoop out each and every tiny seedling and germinating seed.
Tomatoes are not toxic or dangerous- even when the seeds within have sprouted.
Instead, the foliage of the plant itself is toxic.
You should never eat tomato plants, seedlings included.
In many cases, people simply throw the tomato out and reach for another one.
If Plants Are Growing Out of a Tomato, Does That Mean It’s a GMO Fruit?
Many people are absolutely terrified of GMO foods.
Seeing tiny tomato plants erupting from a fruit seems quite otherworldly, leading many people to question the fruit itself as if it’s some sort of weird mutation.
However, if a seed sprouts, you’re virtually guaranteed that it did not come from a genetically modified plant.
Genetically modified plants are sterile, which means you would not be able to grow the seeds that are produced within the fruit of modified plants.
In other words:seeing a tomato sprout seedlings means that you’re dealing with a conventional tomato plant, which has produced viable (and quite eager) seeds.
Can You Grow the Seedlings That Sprout from a Tomato Fruit In the Garden?
If you’re up for a fun experiment, you can most definitely grow the seedlings that pop up in your tomatoes!
Please keep in mind that there is a high chance that the tomato itself came from a hybrid plant, that was likely produced for high production and consumer appeal; thus, the seedling likely won’t produce the same tomato that it sprouted from. If you need a particular variety, you’ll have to purchase pure seed.
It should be similar, though! (seeds from slicers should produce more slicers, while seeds from cherry tomatoes should grow cherry or grape sized tomatoes.)
Hybrids are not GMO; they are simply crosses between two different varieties (such as Cherokee Carbon, a cross between Purple Cherokee and Carbon.)
Some are clear exceptions, such as Roma tomatoes. They may still be hybrids, but fruits that come from the seedlings grown should be quite similar to the hybridized parent fruit (Roma). The plants/fruits may deviate a bit in size, flavor, shade, seed cavity size, and disease resistance, but the plants should still be determinate while producing paste type tomatoes.