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I have a tomato plant that is resulting in blossom end rot tomatoes. Can I cut off the bottom half of the tomato and eat the rest or is this not recommended? I don't know if blossom end rot disease is a viral or physical disease to know the implications of consuming it

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  • I've heard that the blossom-end rot is a result of calcium deficiency, not a viral disease. So, it should be fine to eat it or cook with it... if it tastes ok – InitK Jul 17 '17 at 19:41
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Blossom end rot is a physiological disorder primarily caused by irregular or insufficient water supply, which disables calcium uptake. The fruits, or the bits that aren't affected, are not dangerous to eat, so if the part that's left after you cut off the brown bits is tasty, then yes, you can eat them. You might want to reconsider if the brown parts are oozing, have fungal growth, or smell nasty.

  • The calcium claim is oft repeated but, after experimenting with water and supplementing, I concluded it was bunk. The rot quite clearly is to do with the shape of the young tomato, specifically the shape of the internal lobes. I can forecast most cases of rot simply by looking at the tomato. That being said the main determinant of rot is the cultivar. I can think of many larger tomatoes (beefsteaks) that never, ever get rot eg. Black Krim. – M Pollack Jul 19 '17 at 2:46
  • Blossom end rot tomatoes often taste much better than regular ones in my garden. – Shule Jul 19 '17 at 8:06
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    @MPollack I know there are varieties that are thought to be resistant. However, that doesn't explain what causes it in susceptible varieties. They don't get it every year or in every set of conditions. I know calcium deficiency in the soil isn't always the cause (even if calcium is implicated), but I'm pretty sure calcium deficiency in the soil can trigger BER in susceptible varieties, at least. It would seem that water, light, potassium, nitrogen, heat, and lack of acclimatization (to what; e.g. if you used different nutrient levels each year you saved seeds) might influence matters, too. – Shule Jul 19 '17 at 8:23
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    @MPollack, well yours is a point of view, and you're certainly entitled to whatever belief you choose, but in fact, the larger varieties of tomato are somewhat more prone to suffering blossom end rot rather than less – Bamboo Jul 19 '17 at 9:24
  • In my garden, I think salad/small sized ones are most prone, especially pastes when not watered much. Cherries and extra large seem least prone. Medium varieties seem the second most prone. Large varieties seem less prone than medium. I can't speak for anyone else's garden. It's possible that a wild cherry tomato species is immune to it, and descendants of it might be less prone (which would make sense why smaller varieties, many of which may have wild cherry ancestors, might seem to be less prone). Some extra large tomatoes are likely descendants as well. I think it depends on the variety. – Shule Aug 17 '17 at 2:09
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Since you haven't accepted Bamboo's answer, yet, I'll add my own, in case it offers something new.

This answer is just based on my experience (not on studies, books, etc.) So, if you apply this information, do so at your own risk.

I've eaten plenty of BER tomatoes, and I've never gotten sick from them. I just cut off the black/brown/tan part (I don't eat that, since it looks kind of scary, although it may or may not be edible), and the rest of the tomato is fine. Actually, they taste exceptional, in my experience. The flavor and brix seem to be concentrated for some reason. They also ripen faster than regular tomatoes, although the seeds can seem to be less mature.

I live in a semi-arid climate. I'm not sure if there would be more dangers of eating them in a more humid climate where different kinds of pathogens might flourish, but I've never heard of anyone getting sick from eating a BER tomato. Secondary infections with disease are probably the concern there (not the BER itself). If you know what those secondary infections are, you'll be safer for the knowledge. If it's just anthracnose, you should be fine (I've eaten lots of tomatoes with mild anthracnose lesions and haven't had noticeable issues, although they do seem to have less flavor; same for a couple other pathogens sans the seeming flavor loss). Noticeable is the keyword, though. You never know what you don't notice.

If you're really concerned, just cook the tomatoes. It should kill the pathogens and neutralize toxins produced by at least some kinds of pathogens. There might be toxins produced by some bacteria/fungi that might survive that, but I don't know of any in particular that would.

Anyway, as long as the good part of the tomato isn't rotten, too, I'd think it would be okay.

So, if your definition of edible is that they taste good, then yes, they're very edible. If your definition is that they won't kill you, I'm pretty sure they won't. If you're worried about subtle toxic effects, or subtle pathogenic infections that might cause issues down the road or for people susceptible to illness, I really can't say, but I've never had any noticeable problems, personally. I do notice some subtle stuff like that in other areas of life, and with some food situations, though (a lot more than your average person would claim to notice), but I haven't noticed anything bad here, personally.

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