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Tomatoes: TOMATOES ARE SPLITTING

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oblambert

(Zone 6a)

July 31, 2002
11:41 PM

Post #38184

What causes tomatoes to split? I never can remember the accepted theory on that one. A lot of mine are splitting pretty badly so far this summer.

By the way, I just picked my very first Marianna's Peace tomato today. It was one of the few large ones that did not split. It was approx. a pound or slightly larger, and tasted to me very much like a pink brandywine. The vines are beautiful and have lots of large pink tomatoes on them.

Owen
Brook
Richmond, KY
(Zone 6b)

August 1, 2002
1:08 AM

Post #316354

Owen,

Some varieties are just prone to splitting, especially the larger ones.

However, chronic splitting and cracking usually is a sign of a sudden influx of water; especially after a dry spell. What happens is that the tomato absorbs moisture faster than the skin can expand.

Unless they get infected (always a possibility), cracking, of itself, doesn't affect anything. If the 'maters already are ripe, just eat them. If not, monitor them on the vine. Often enough the only thing that happens is that the cracks scar over. In that case, cut away the scars and eat the rest.
oblambert

(Zone 6a)

August 1, 2002
3:25 PM

Post #316689

Thanks Brook. We have had a dry spell with 90+ degree temps. this summer, but I have been watering with a hose. Guess maybe I have been watering too much:) A lot of those that are cracking did not do so last year.

Owen

Brook
Richmond, KY
(Zone 6b)

August 1, 2002
3:46 PM

Post #316708

How are you actually watering?

It's better to water deeply less frequently, than to water shallowly often.

I have drip hoses rigged for my tomatoes. Twice a week I water for two hours with them, and that seems to be doing the trick. They get watered deeply, and on a reasonable schedule.

Only thing that throws this schedule off are the occasional T-storms that have been dropping a _lot_ of water, all at once. Then I have to adjust my schedule on a by-guess and by-gosh basis.
serenaski
Traverse City, MI
(Zone 6a)

July 24, 2007
6:20 PM

Post #3774020

I know this thread is old, but it answered my question of splitting green tomatoe perfectly. We had a dry hot june and a cooler rainy July, so one of my largest green Better Boys started to split. Hopefully he will just scar over. Thanks to Brook fore the info.
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

July 24, 2007
7:08 PM

Post #3774230

I know this thread is old, but it answered my question of splitting green tomatoe perfectly. We had a dry hot june and a cooler rainy July, so one of my largest green Better Boys started to split. Hopefully he will just scar over. Thanks to Brook fore the info.

*****

There are really three kinds of splitting, which wasn't addressed above and so I don't know what kind of splitting the original poster was describing.

Concentric splitting ( cracking), a series of concentric circles around the stem. This usually is variety specific and usually the splits scar over but with heavy rain or watering, the splits can reopen and then normal bacteria and fungi in the environment can get in and initiatiate a rotting process.

Radial Splitting, splits at the stem end that radiate out from the stem in a star like pattern. Everything I said above pertains here including a genetic association.

Horizontal Splitting, which describes splits anywhere's else on the fruit. This is the one where too much intake of water leads to the splitting b'c once the tomato epidermis is at it's maximum size, too much water makes it split b/c it no longer can expand.

Carolyn
Yuska
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

July 24, 2007
7:17 PM

Post #3774265

A friend was watering her tomatoes every afternoon because she was alarmed by the wilting leaves, and then was distressed by the splitting. I suggested she mulch with grass clippings to cool the soil. The leaves perked up and she reduced the watering.
tednugent
Dripping Springs, TX
(Zone 8b)

July 24, 2007
10:01 PM

Post #3774881

It happens to me when they are just about vine ripe and it rains.I usually pick varieties prone to splitting (just about every thick skinned type) when they are breakers and let them ripen in a paper sack or just on a shelf.
serenaski
Traverse City, MI
(Zone 6a)

July 25, 2007
6:45 PM

Post #3778380

This is the one that split for me, notice the nose sticking out one side, since it is a little deformed and now split with some darkening around the stem, maybe I should put him out of his misery. All the other tomatoes on that plant look okay.

Thumbnail by serenaski
Click the image for an enlarged view.

gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

July 26, 2007
1:23 AM

Post #3779924

When some of my green tomatoes split and look as if the splits may lead to rotting and problems, I pick them green and use them for fried green tomatoes - a family favorite!
serenaski
Traverse City, MI
(Zone 6a)

July 27, 2007
4:37 PM

Post #3785815

Ooh! almost every fall I wonder about fried green tomatoes, because I usually have at least a few when frost is imminent. I'll pick him so he doesn't infect the others. Would you mind sharing your recipe?
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

July 28, 2007
4:19 PM

Post #3789286

Serenaski,
In the fall I always pick the green ones that will be hit by frost and fry them up. I put the fried tomatoes on a cookie sheet, freeze them individually, then bag them. They make a real treat at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just put the frozen fried tomatoes on a cookie sheet in a 325? oven to heat them up. They get mice and crisp again!
My recipe is not carved in stome but here is the approximate measurements:
Flour Mix: I use about three parts flour (often I use cake flour as it is lighter) to one part corn meal (that makes them crisp), add salt and pepper to taste or Lawrey's seasoned salt, and any other herbs you like: (basil - often fresh chopped, tarragon, thyme, McCormack's garlic-herb mix, lemon-pepper, etc.)
I slice the tomatoes and put them in a glass dish in the microwave and heat them until just soft - takes about 9 minutes on high for a big pan - keep removing the ones that are done and cook the rest until done. Let them cool a bit, dip them in the flour mixture lightly, and fly in olive oil until brown.
I find it takes a long time for the tomatoes to cook through if I fry them raw - hence the microwaving first. Many people dip the tomatoes in an eggbatter first but I am trying to cut down on too much frying.
This method seems a good compromise and they are DELICIOUS!! Experiment for what works best for you and ENJOY!
kygreg2000
Hopkinsville, KY

July 28, 2007
10:34 PM

Post #3790339

gardadore: I like my mice crispy too; seriously thats a great idea and thanks for recipe and instructions.
deanna8
Raeford, NC

July 29, 2007
7:02 AM

Post #3791609

So kygreg You are eating crispy mice with your tomatoes? are they good/LOL Just kidding so easy to hit the wrong key Deanna
kygreg2000
Hopkinsville, KY

July 29, 2007
11:44 AM

Post #3791836

actually, it was on purpose, just a little attempt at humor on my part; see gardadore's post right before mine; I do make my share of key stroke errors however.
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

July 30, 2007
4:26 AM

Post #3795110

Discovered the typo error too late but decided not to send another message correcting it! Glad you all enjoyed it. Someday I'll get my m's and n's straight! With or without mice we really enjoy that recipe!! I'll be thinning some of my tomatoes next week (when there are four together I usually take one or two out so the others get bigger) so will be frying up some green ones soon! Yummm!
deanna8
Raeford, NC

July 31, 2007
12:02 AM

Post #3798448

kygreg, sorry I totally missed you were resonding to him. Sometimes it is in the wee am when I read these.Deanna
kygreg2000
Hopkinsville, KY

July 31, 2007
1:27 AM

Post #3798848

I just assumed you had too much tomato wine :-); it is no problem; I was just have some fun with word play.
serenaski
Traverse City, MI
(Zone 6a)

July 31, 2007
3:38 AM

Post #3799484

Gardadore,
Thanks so much for the recipe and the method of pre-cooking them, I am tempted to type this in 'word' with my trusty spellcheck before posting it :)
You mentioned thinning out the crop so that they get bigger; earlier this spring I was picking off blossoms so the plants wouldn't get tomatos before they were big and every blossom I snatched I kept thinking "oh no, now I won't have any tomatoes at all" (yes I am a pitiful excuse for a gardner). Anyway, now I have clusters of tomatoes, and was wondering about thinning them, so thank you for reassurring me and giving me a way to not feel they are wasted. Too cool!
Serena
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

August 1, 2007
3:20 AM

Post #3803692

Actually, Serena, I thin the tomatoes and use the excuse that it will help the others get bigger so I can justify picking them to make up the fried green tomatoes! (LOL) I'm not really sure it makes a difference in the final size of the remaining tomatoes but it doesn't seem to do any harm!! Maybe someone else can clarify if my theory is correct.
serenaski
Traverse City, MI
(Zone 6a)

August 1, 2007
9:25 PM

Post #3806633

I am happy with pretending your theory is gospel :)
kygreg2000
Hopkinsville, KY

August 1, 2007
9:37 PM

Post #3806676

I found an old thread that talked about smoke dried tomatoes; dmailed and got the procedure(recipe); think I will try that.
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

August 2, 2007
3:10 AM

Post #3808010

Smoke dried sounds interesting! Can you share the recipe?
kygreg2000
Hopkinsville, KY

August 2, 2007
11:32 PM

Post #3811140

gardadore - am pasting my dmails from and to sacmae who should get the credit

from sacmae

smoked tomatoes are the most wonderful treat-the prep is a bit time consuming but very easy-start a charcoal fire and place plenty of water soaked wood chips on top of the coals for a lot of smoke-place peeled, seeded tomatoes in a metal collander and place on the rack of the grill-if you can place them to the side of the fire it will be more efficient-sometimes the juices from the tomatoes can put out the fire-close the grill cover and smoke for 20 min-remove from the grill and place in dehydrater (or lo oven) till leather dry-they can then be stored in zip lock baggies in the frig or can be canned in light olive oil in canning jars-I tried using extra virgin olive oil, bu it was a bit strong tasting for these little bits of heaven-using light olive oil, and a bit of fresh basil worked quite well...warning, once you try this you'll be addicted-I find myself putting in more and more tomatoes each year to have plenty for the smoking-they are absolutely delicious-and I have friends and family lining up for their share-one wicker laundry basket of tomatoes smokes and dries down to 1 full quart sized zip lock baggie-ENJOY!!!!


kygreg2000
Hopkinsville, KY
July 31, 2007
9:49 AM
Thanks, sounds like beans, have to have about 2 bushels to get one quart; a couple of things I would like your opinion on. I have an electric smoker on which I use wood chips. You think this would work. And what variety of tomatoes do you use or does it make any difference? Would the the thicker wall ones like romas work better or does it make any difference. And I suppose you use thin slices - 1/4" or smaller.

thanks for all your help and sharing.
kygreg2000
Hopkinsville, KY
August 1, 2007
9:19 AM
Also, another question; if you freeze them, do you reconsitute them by soaking in water before eating or just eat them like chips?
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

August 3, 2007
2:19 AM

Post #3811775

Thanks Kygreg for passing on sacmae's recipe. I don't have a charcoal grill but like the idea of your electric smoker and chips if she says it works. I also am curious what variety she uses.
I have dried tomatoes in the sun and then finished them off in a low oven when they weren't dry enough. I have only used Principe Borghese which I understand they use in Italy for dried tomatoes. I cut them in half, add a little olive oil and salt before drying and they are scrumptious when done! All those hours of drying and they are consumed in seconds!
kygreg2000
Hopkinsville, KY

August 3, 2007
2:42 AM

Post #3811841

thanks for that info also, I have dried some in a dehydrator in the past, thought romas types did best, but have never tried Principe; will let you know if iI get another dmail from sacmae
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

August 3, 2007
2:26 PM

Post #3813098

Principe Borghese's are smaller than the Romas. I will try the Romas this year as well for comparison. I guess one can dry any tomato variety - just some are less juicy so dry faster.
kygreg2000
Hopkinsville, KY

August 3, 2007
2:39 PM

Post #3813144

before drying do you remove seeds? and do you use regular olive oil or extra virgin, or extra extra virgin, or extra virgin, virgin,; sorry I got carried away :>); I really dont see why the electric smoker wont work and am going to do it anyway and seems like with the double grills in the smoker one could smoke more at a time; will soak some mesquite chips and use them.
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

August 5, 2007
10:44 PM

Post #3821753

I don't seed the Principe Borghese because they are so small but I guess I might with larger Roma types. It would depend on how juicy they are. The seeds don't hurt anything. I just cut the Principe's in half and set them on a cookie sheet. I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, just a small amount brushed on with a pastry brush.
Let us know how you fare with the electric smoker.
kygreg2000
Hopkinsville, KY

August 5, 2007
11:59 PM

Post #3821946

Will let you know; with the temp what is today and supposed to be the next few days; not sure I would even need a cooker; would get true sun dried ones.
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

August 6, 2007
1:53 AM

Post #3822503

If you have ripe tomatoes and good sun go for it. It takes a long time in the sun but you can finish them off in the oven. Just put them on a cookie sheet and cover with cheese cloth or some kind of mesh cover to keep the bugs out. The first time I tried it they were out all day and about 2 hours in a low oven. I didn't do that many because I was experimenting with it. My husband and I devoured every one in a few minutes (we just wanted to taste them but couldn't stop!). It's amazing how sweet they get when sun dried.

juhur7

juhur7
Anderson, IN
(Zone 6a)

September 11, 2012
7:13 PM

Post #9272509

lots of tomatoes are splitting here now rain to sunshine ,cool nights ,hot days, It makes for lots of tomatoes broken and split. Weather has been at it all year ,seems it ain;t done yet.!

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