What you see: Dried out rings running circles around your tomato
What it is: Scarring after a growth spurt
Eat or toss: Eat! The dry, brown areas may not have a great texture, but as long as you don’t see any evidence of mold or rot, the rest of the tomato will still taste great
We’ve been here before. Back in April, we wrote about radial cracking, which leaves an asterisk-style pattern at the top of your tomato. Today we’d like to introduce you to its more circle-inclined cousin, concentric cracking.
In both types of cracking, the tomatoes undergo sudden growth spurts, likely after a dry period followed by an influx of water. The quick change in hydration spurs growth faster than the tomato’s outside can keep up with. Over fertilization and temperature fluctuations can also throw off the tomato’s regularly scheduled growing schedule.
And then...craaack! The tomato skin broke. But, no matter. The tomato was ready for this. It healed, deploying that rough tissue to seal the wound and keep itself (and you) safe from pathogens.
Heirloom tomatoes, including this one, grown in a community garden in Washington, D.C., are more prone to cracking than other varieties.
Whatever kind of tomato you’re working with, the scarred tissue might have a rough texture (point of reference: I ate this tomato without trimming and didn’t notice anything). Also, do a quick inspection for any evidence of rot or mold (squishy, wet tissue, fuzz). As long as you see nothing amiss, it’s time to tomato.
Emily Rose Haga, plant breeder, tomatoes and peppers. Johnny's Selected Seeds.
This tomato top cracked, but it's not lost to your salad. EatOrToss.com. April 2, 2018.
Tomato Problems. Help for the Home Gardener. Missouri Botanical Garden.
Tomato Fruit Problems. Help for the Home Gardener. Missouri Botanical Garden.
Tomato Diseases and Disorders. Missouri Botanical Garden.
You say tomato, I say yes! H/t Baylen Linnekin!