Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables grown in home gardens. As a tomato lover, there’s no worse feeling than picking a beautiful fruit and discovering deformities on its bottom. This deformity is known as catfacing, a common problem affecting tomato fruits. If you’re a gardener likely to sell your produce or someone who only wants perfect-looking tomatoes, catfacing may be an issue that bothers you. But fear not, in this article, we will discuss what catfacing is, what causes it, how to prevent it, and whether you can still eat tomatoes with catfacing.
What is Catfacing?
Catfacing is a condition where the bottom of a tomato fruit develops indentations, scars, or wrinkles that give it an irregular appearance. The affected area is often tough, and the fruit is usually misshapen and disfigured, making it difficult to sell in the market. Catfacing occurs only on the blossom end of tomatoes, where the flower once opened.
Causes of Catfacing Tomatoes
There are several reasons why catfacing occurs. The most common reason is temperature changes during the early stages of fruit development. Specifically, when temperatures fall below 55°F or rise above 90°F during the formation of the first blossoms. The condition can also arise from pollination problems, known as incomplete pollination. If a tomato plant does not get sufficient pollination, it may produce catfaced fruits.
Preventing Catfacing Tomatoes
While environmental factors are the primary causes of catfacing, there are steps you can take to prevent this problem. One step is to protect your young tomato plants in their early stages with a cover to reduce temperature fluctuations. You can also opt to grow tomato varieties that are resistant to catfacing like Celebrity, Jetstar, or Roma. Another solution is to ensure that pollination is done correctly by placing honeybee hives in your garden.
Can You Eat Tomatoes With Catfacing?
Yes, you can eat a tomato with catfacing. The disfigurement only affects the appearance of the fruit, not its taste or nutritional content. In fact, some people who have grown used to seeing ugly but tasty tomatoes prefer them to perfect-looking ones. So, unless you’re planning to sell your tomatoes commercially, you don’t have to toss them because of catfacing.
Catfacing is a common problem for tomato gardeners, but it’s not the end of the world. Plants can still produce high-quality, tasty fruit even with these cosmetic defects. In most cases, catfacing is simply a natural occurrence and should not be a cause for concern. You may decide to adopt preventative measures or even plant varieties that are resistant to catfacing, but at least you know that you don’t have to throw away your crop because of it.
FAQs about Catfacing Tomatoes
1. Is catfacing contagious?
No. Catfacing is not contagious, and it doesn’t affect the health of other tomato plants in your garden.
2. Can I get rid of catfacing once it appears on my tomato?
Unfortunately, once the catfacing scar appears on the tomato fruit, there’s nothing you can do to reverse it. However, it’s essential to discard any infected fruits to prevent the spread of the condition to other fruits.
3. Can I still use my catfaced tomatoes for canning purposes?
Yes, you can still use these tomatoes for canning, preserving, or cooking. Any of your tomatoes’ cosmetics will not affect the flavor or quality of your preserved product.