My Tomato Is Green Inside: Should I Eat It?

Opening up a tomato and finding that the inside has turned green can be pretty alarming, especially given that tomatoes are part of the nightshade family and most people have been taught to treat them with caution. Does a green interior mean that the tomato is unsafe to eat?

Fortunately, green inside a tomato is rarely a sign of a problem. There are a few different potential explanations, such as the tomato being slightly unripe, or the tomato being stressed while growing. Sometimes, too much or too little fertilizer can also lead to green insides.

There are quite a few things that can affect how the inside of a tomato looks, so let’s learn a bit more about this, and whether green interiors ever mean that a tomato is unsafe to eat.

Why Might A Tomato Be Green Inside?

green tomato

A tomato could be green inside for many different reasons, but the simplest and most logical explanation is that it has not yet fully ripened. Most kinds of tomatoes go from green to red when they are ripe, and any green that is left over signifies that the tomato needs more time to finish ripening. Tomato seeds are also green when they are unripe.

If the outside of the tomato is ripe, however, the tomato is pretty close, and may simply have a sharper flavor than a fully ripe tomato. You can eat tomatoes when they are still green if you choose to, so you don’t need to worry about a little bit of greening inside the fruit; it won’t hurt you.

There are other things that can cause your tomato to be green inside, including:

  • It was grown in imperfect conditions, often due to improper or irregular watering, which causes stress. When stressed, tomato plants may not transfer nutrients to their fruits as effectively, and this can result in fruits being green and hard inside. Long, dry spells or excessive heat can also cause this.
  • Too much or too little fertilizer, which will similarly upset the balance of nutrients within the fruit, and make it green inside.
  • The tomato plant losing its leaves; this will prevent it from photosynthesizing effectively, and this will mean that the tomatoes cannot grow or ripen as they normally would.
  • Potassium deficiency, which leads to irregular and blotchy ripening, and often leaves the insides of the fruits green.
  • Certain kinds of pests, such as silver leaf whiteflies, which will inject a toxin into the fruit as they feed on it. This toxin prevents ripening. The pests will usually also damage the skin, leaving a white or yellow mark, so it should be easy to tell if this is the cause of the greenness.

As you can see, quite a few things can leave your tomatoes green inside, frustrating though that may be. Many of these factors will also result in tomatoes that taste sourer, or that have a tougher core and chewier skin. Tomatoes that are grown in perfect conditions and unbothered by insects should not stay green inside once they are ripe.

Is It Safe To Eat Tomatoes That Are Green Inside?

Fortunately, although greenness is pretty common, it is nothing that you need to worry about. It may give the tomato a sourer flavor since fruits sweeten when they become ripe, but it won’t hurt you, especially if you are only eating fairly small amounts of it.

You may have tried green tomatoes, especially fried alongside a breakfast, and this is the same thing – these are unripe tomatoes that are perfectly safe to consume, as long as you don’t eat massive quantities of them. Some cafes serve these, and they are considered a nice change from red tomatoes.

You don’t need to worry about whether the green inside your tomato will hurt you, and you certainly don’t need to scoop out the seeds or try to cut away the green. Simply be aware that the tomato is likely to be a little sourer than usual, and use it as you would normally.

If you want to save the seeds from your tomatoes, however, you should be aware that green seeds are not fully ripe. They turn beige or white when they have finished ripening, so if they are still wrapped in green pulp and have a green hue themselves, they aren’t ready, and you may not get much success if you try to grow them the following year.

What Should You Do About Green Tomatoes?

If you don’t like the green in your tomatoes, the best solution is to let them ripen further. Fortunately, tomatoes can ripen well even once they have been picked. You simply need to leave them in a cool, dark place and keep an eye out for any signs of mold. Remove any tomatoes that start to turn soft and use them up.

Some tomatoes will keep for a long time in these conditions, and they should gradually become riper. They release a gas called ethylene, and this encourages the ripening process. You may find that putting them in a bag traps this gas close to the tomatoes and further promotes ripening.

This is a great way to get the insides of the fruits to turn red if you have accidentally picked them before they are ready, although it is better to leave them on the plant for as long as possible if you don’t think they are ripe.

If you don’t want to leave the tomatoes to ripen like this, you can simply use them as they are. If you really dislike the green parts, scoop these bits out and use the red flesh – but most of the time, you will hardly notice the difference, especially if you are cooking the tomatoes. The green is fine to eat.

Conclusion

It is perfectly normal for a tomato to have hints of green inside, and there’s no danger associated with eating green tomatoes – even if they are very green. Large quantities may give you a stomach ache as they are quite acidic, but they are not harmful.

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for over five years! I've set up this blog because I'm passionate about veganism and living a more spiritually fulfilling life where I'm more in tune with nature. Hopefully, I can use Vegan Foundry as a channel to help you out on your own journey!