Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Question of Tomato Sprouts

So I've had tomato seeds sprout inside the tomato three times now. The first time it happened was a few years ago and I freaked out and threw it away. In the past year or so, however, I've become rather interested in sprouts and wanted to try sprouting my own seeds to increase nutritional value.
So, when another tomato sprouted again recently, I decided to be brave and try eating it. The rest of the tomato seemed perfectly normal and it tasted wonderful. I added it to the sandwich in this other post.

It happened a third time on the 8th of August and I used part of it in a guacamole recipe and the rest I made into an open-face sandwich.
Organic Multigrain bread, fresh guacamole, tomato, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mmmm . . .

Still, I kept meaning to do a little research on this phenomenon and never got around to it till today (09-03-12). There are a lot of different opinions. Some people say they would never eat a tomato like this. Others say they have and do and that they are just fine and even tasty. Some people are worried this is a sign of genetic modification, others disagree and think it's a result of being kept cool for long periods in order to enable shipping longer distances. I really don't know what the real cause is.
I must confess, I rather wish I could be sure they are safe to eat. If it does turn out to be a result of GM, I will be rather disappointed.
I had learned years ago that tomatoes should not be stored in the fridge because it ruins their flavor. Apparently Italians never chill theirs but always keep them at room temperature. I figured Italians ought to know so I haven't refrigerated mine for years. 
When this kept happening I just figured that it got warm enough as they sat in the fruit bowl on my counter that the little seeds woke up. 
Hopefully someday I can shed some light on this little mystery.

Update: 07-11-15

We recently bought some tomatoes from Costco. They are non-gmo certified Houweling's Locally grown kind and nearly all of them ended up with sprouts inside, Today I have two left and I can see that they have little bumps forming on the skin where the sprouts are trying to break through.

This brought the question back to my mind again, about whether or not it is a sign of Genetic Modification, so I looked the brand up online to be sure they really are non-gmo. 

Then I did a little more research and found this article.  Which claims the phenomenon to be normal. Although I found another one that said eating tomato sprouts can cause gastric upset. I guess because tomatoes belong to the nightshade family their sprouts are a bit iffy? Anyway, My main thought now is . . . 'I wish I had somewhere to plant all these sprouts. Wouldn't that be awesome?'