Do you have large black circles or leathery patches around the blossom end of tomato fruit? That is not an insect pest or pathogen’s issue. These leathery patches are physiological problems and called blossom end rot.
That is a pervasive physiological disorder caused by calcium deficiency. Blossom end rot is not caused by a lack of calcium in the soil. When plants become weak and unable to take calcium from the ground, it starts rotting from the blossom end.
Disturbed watering schedules and drought conditions are common causes behind this disorder.
So straight to question, can you eat tomatoes with blossom end rot? Yes, you can eat tomatoes with blossom end rot. It is a physiological issue, not any insect or pathogen-related disease. Cut infected portion and consume remaining. Sometimes insects or pathogens invade through the injured part, so cut the complete infected piece of fruit.
According to science direct research, The deficiency of calcium enhances ethylene and carotenoid production. There can be internal black or browning of fruits, which is called black seeds.
Precautions to Eat Blossom End Rot Tomatoes
Blossom end rot tomatoes get ripened early as compared to other tomatoes. Their seeds look immature, but no difference in fruit. I have consumed plenty of infected tomatoes by cutting brown, tan, or leathery portions.
Here are some points to keep in mind while consuming blossom end rot tomatoes.
- Make sure brown or leathery patches are not infected with fungus, oozing, or nasty smell. As earlier mentioned, most of the pathogens and insects attack through wounds and injuries.
- If you are sure or concerned about pathogens or insects, cook them before consuming them. It will be insects or toxins produced by pathogens.
- Always cut the whole infected portion. In severe conditions, bottom end rot disorder can cover the entire fruit.
How to prevent blossom end rot
Since it is a physiological disorder, so no insecticide or fungicide can fix this problem. Only diagnosing the real cause and fixing it is the solution.
A leathery circle appears as a small dime in the start, which becomes half a dollar-sized late. It is worst for initial fruit.
Diagnose blossom end rot
Symptoms appear on both immature and mature fruit. At the start, small water-soaked areas appear, which later develop into the tan brown, or leathery patch. These patches become a source of infection for secondary pathogens. Sometimes it starts from black or white spots.
Sometimes fungus or insects invade through these patches. The fungus develops white oozy material on infected fruit.
Sometimes internal black or brown rot will appear, but that is very rare. This symptom seems on fruit which is one third or one half-developed.
The leading cause of blossom end rot is a calcium deficiency in the plant. Fluctuation in moisture and disturb water supply cause this condition. A long dry period or severe heatwave also causes this issue.
Excess of fertilizer or chemicals, root damage due to cultivation, and stress conditions are also reasons. Tomato plants need proper care and scheduled fertilizer. A real concept behind this disorder is that” when you weaken plants, it will be unable to uptake calcium from the soil.”
Treatment of blossom end rot
Here are some recommendations to treat blossom end rot
- Always water plants in an adequate amount. Never disturb water schedules and maintain moisture in dry conditions. A three to inches layer of mulch will help to retain moisture. Keep soil moist and spray calcium solution.
- Deep cultivation near to roots is another cause of blossom end rot. Prevent deep cultivation or cultivate away from roots.
- Choose resistant varieties. Some varieties can compete with calcium stress. Some water-resistant types are also effective against blossom end rot.Use fungicides for tomatoes to ease strength of plant.
- That is a scarce chance to develop blossom end due to lack of calcium in soil but apply bone meal: oyster shell, eggshells at planting time. Foliar application of calcium also prevents this disorder. Apply with natural surfactant for adhesion.
- Avoid excess fertilizer, which can burn plants. A high dose of nitrogen fertilizer for tomatoes promotes vegetative growth, which reduces the uptake of essential nutrients. Use high superphosphate fertilizer instead of nitrogen. If you want to use nitrogen, then use calcium nitrate because ammonia and urea promote vegetation.
- Get a soil test and maintain ph 6.5 to 7.Soil test is also essential to know organic matter. Your stable should contain at least 5% organic matter.
- Tomato plants are very thirsty and need an adequate supply of water. As there grow and are ready to set fruit; they need more water. Apply water after two or three days in the field. If you have tomatoes in pots, then apply water every day in the dry season.
What causes blossom end rot?
There is no specific cause behind this physiological disorder. Combination of factors like calcium deficiency, lack of water, stress conditions, and low organic material cause this issue.
Can you consume tomatoes after removing the infected portion?
Yes, tomatoes infected with blossom end rot are safe to edible. Any specific pathogen or pest does not cause this disorder. Remove the infected portion and consume it. Sometimes pathogens or insects can invade through these wounds. If you are more concerned, then consume after boiling.
How do you stop blossoms and rot on tomatoes?
Remove all infected fruits and consume them. Once blossom end attacks, it will not go away from fruit or plants. For next time, apply adequate water on a regular base. Prevent plants from heat waves and dry periods.
Can i use powdered milk for blossom end rot?
Powdered milk is not helpful to stop blossom end rot but it provides calcium supply to the soil. Some owners recommend eggshells or powdered milk which is not beneficial. Unfortunately, blossom end rot is the cause of a plant’s ability to take calcium.
Depending on environmental and soil conditions, blossom end appears at different times. The main reason behind blossom end is a calcium deficiency; You can consume infected fruits by removing leathery patches.
Hi i am Waqar Zafar, a passionate plant pathologist. I have done graduation Plant pathology and animal science. My research papers on pest control and plant health phenomenon published in many journals. Research is not limited to some papers as agriculture and farming is a wide field so looking for suggestions from readers.