Wow. I was making a little antipasto tonight, one of my favorite snacks to have before an Italian dinner. Sliced vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, chopped basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of sea salt. So simple and fresh. I didn’t realize it, but a big suprise was waiting for me inside my tomato.

sprout

A sprout! Actually, a whole lot of sprouts. So many that I thought the tomato was full of worms. Upon closer inspection, I realized this tomato was sprouting throughout. My first instinct was to check online – did anyone else experience this?  The information I found led me to make a few conclusions, the most important of which is my committment to buy organic produce.

sprouts2

In nature, this occurs in approximately one tomato in 10,000. Usually tomatoes ripen on the vine, and eventually drop to the ground. The gelatinous inside of the tomato (typically) prevents the seeds from sprouting.

Where do new tomato plants come from?  Once the tomato is fully ripe and falls to the ground, it will begin to decompose. During decomp, the gelatinous substance is broken down, freeing the seed to germinate. The 1 in 10,000th tomato that germinates on the vine is assumed to be a genetic anomaly.

sprouts3

My concern arose when I found such a significant number of posts where other people were asking the same question. Shoudn’t the frequency of this occurring must be higher than 1 in 10,000 for so many others to ask the same question? The comments from other readers indicated a likelihood of overuse of fertilizers. These tomatoes were likely harvested while green, treated with fertilizer, and kept in cold storage.  I buy a lot of produce and sometimes can’t find organic, so I had to check the little oval label. Not organic. This firm, red, on-the-vine tomato is not something I want to eat. I feel thankful that it sprouted to prevent me from injesting the fertilizer while trying to have a healthy and in-season appetizer.

sprouts4

Fortunately, I had a beatuiful basket of tiny heirloom tomato medly, with yellow, orange, and red tomatoes. They are organic, local, and fresh. My antipasto was perfect. My sister-in-law even enjoyed it (sans balsamic).

As for this tomato… it went down the disposal. I wouldn’t want to plan these seeds.

sprouts5

Advertisements