Can you eat tomatoes with holes in them? Tomatoes are great crops that you can use in various ways. You can crush them and use their pulp as a base for a sauce, slice them for salads, or roast them to bring out their natural sweetness.
Some people love tomatoes so much that they grow them at home. While growing your tomatoes, you may notice that some of them are covered in holes.
Find out what you should do with those tomatoes that are covered in holes by continuing with the rest of this article.
Can You Eat Tomatoes with Holes in Them?
Tomatoes with holes created by tomato fruitworms are no longer fit for consumption as they’re likely rotten. Other pests including cutworms, slugs, and snails may also damage tomatoes, but can still be eaten if they have not spoiled. Slice the damaged portions of the tomato away then wash the fruit thoroughly so it will be safe to eat.
Why Holes Form on Tomatoes
After a long growing period, the tomatoes you’ve been growing in your backyard may finally be fit for harvest. Due to that long wait, your appetite for tomatoes has intensified and you cannot wait to try out your crops.
Unfortunately, you may be met with an unwelcome surprise when you go to check on your tomatoes.
Instead of seeing plump and juicy tomatoes that are ready for the dinner table, the ones in your garden may be covered in holes. Those holes seemingly indicate that your tomatoes are not in good condition.
So, why have holes appeared on your tomatoes? In all likelihood, the holes were formed by pests such as tomato fruitworms, cutworms, slugs, and snails.
Can You Eat Tomatoes with Holes Created by Tomato Fruitworms
Now that we know more about the possible reasons why your tomatoes are covered in holes, let’s discuss the potential culprits one by one.
We can start with the tomato fruitworms.
The holes in your tomatoes were most likely created by those aforementioned pests.
The tomato fruitworm will start by creating a hole in the tomato. After the hole forms, the larvae of the tomato fruitworm will start eating the inside of the fruit.
According to this article from Utah State University, the larvae of the tomato fruitworm also fully develop within the tomato. By the time the larvae are done feeding, the tomato will be nothing more than a watery mess.
The discarded remains of the tomato attacked by the tomato fruitworm are no longer edible. The flesh will likely be rotten once you get to it.
Eating the rotten tomato isn’t an option. All you can do is throw it away.
Gardeners will be able to tell that their crops were attacked by a tomato fruitworm by slicing them open. After slicing a tomato open, you may see holes that almost look like a network of tunnels.
Tomato fruitworms may also damage both the leaves and the stems of the tomatoes you were growing.
Can You Eat Tomatoes with Holes Created by Cutworms
Cutworms are also known for damaging tomatoes. Similar to tomato fruitworms, cutworms will tear into the flesh of a tomato to eat it.
These cutworms also like to eat the stems of tomatoes. Stem damage is even one of the telltale signs that you are dealing with a cutworm infestation.
You can also tell that a cutworm is the culprit behind your damaged tomatoes based on when the holes form. If the holes on your tomatoes seemingly formed overnight, then cutworms are likely to blame.
Notably, a tomato attacked by a cutworm does not spoil immediately. Whether or not the fruit will survive depends on how large damage did the cutworm cause.
Sometimes, the damage can be very minor. You may be able to slice the damaged portions away and still enjoy the rest of the fruit.
Can You Eat Tomatoes with Holes Created by Slugs and Snails
We’re combining slugs and snails here because they pose a similar threat to your tomatoes. These pests will work their way up your tomato vines and slowly eat your crops.
The symptoms of a snail or slug attack are easy to recognize.
First off, you should look for slime. If your damaged tomatoes also have a slimy texture on the outside, then slugs and snails probably got to them.
You can also tell that slugs and snails are responsible for your damaged crops by checking where the holes are.
Slugs and snails are likely to blame if the holes are mostly found near the bottom of the fruit. Since the slugs and snails move slowly, they will focus on the tomato’s lower portion first.
Eating a tomato covered in holes created by a slug or snail is still possible.
Safe consumption is possible if you slice away the tomato’s damaged portions and wash it thoroughly before eating.
Take your time washing the hole-covered tomatoes because you want to completely remove any traces of slime.
Frequently Asked Questions about Eating Tomatoes with Holes in Them
Can You Eat Scarred Tomatoes?
Eating a scarred tomato is perfectly fine as long as the blemish is dry and the fruit is still intact. The scar may be related to the way the tomato grew so it’s not a major concern.
Can You Eat a Squirrel-Bitten Tomato?
You can still eat a tomato even if a squirrel got to it first. To make the tomato fit for consumption, simply remove its damaged portions and wash the rest of the fruit.
Conclusion On Can You Eat Tomatoes With Holes in Them
Tomatoes with holes caused by the tomato fruitworms must be discarded because they are no longer safe to eat. If the holes were made by cutworms, slugs, or snails, the tomato may still be salvageable. You can remove the damaged bits of the tomato and wash the rest of the fruit to make it safe for consumption.