Many people remove the stem of the tomato. But is the tomato stalk as poisonous as everyone thinks and even carcinogenic, or is it allowed to eat it? All important information.
Are you one of those people who remove the tomato stalk because it is considered poisonous and suspected of being carcinogenic? Why this assumption exists and what the plant protection substance solanine has to do with it?
What is solanine?
The plant protection substance solanine is mainly found in the green plant parts of the tomato, i.e. in the stalk and leaves. Solanine is also present in unripe, green tomatoes.
The plant protection substance is contained in nightshade plants and serves to protect the plants from pests and ensures that bacteria and mold cannot spread so quickly.
How toxic is solanine to humans?
In humans, however, the intake of solanine can cause symptoms of poisoning.
The following symptoms are possible:
- stomach pain
- Scratching and burning in the throat.
Disorders of circulatory and respiratory activity (in severe cases)
Damage to the central nervous system with convulsions and paralysis (in very severe cases)
However, harmful solanine poisoning is very rare, since relatively large amounts would have to be ingested.
The myth that the intake of solanine is carcinogenic can also not be confirmed.
Is the tomato stalk poisonous to humans?
Although the stalk of the tomato contains solanine, the tomato varieties cultivated today are said to have a lower proportion than earlier varieties. Poisoning from just eating the stalk is therefore relatively unlikely. Very large amounts would have to be consumed.
Nevertheless, it is advisable to remove the tomato stalk and green areas before consuming tomatoes.
You should generally not eat green, unripe tomatoes, as the proportion of plant protection substances is higher here, as confirmed by the Federal Center for Nutrition. In addition, fruits that were harvested immature and then ripen have a higher solanine content than tomatoes that were harvested when ripe.
Does heat help reduce solanine levels in tomatoes?
The plant protection substance is relatively insensitive to heat, which is why the solanine content is not noticeably reduced by cooking and frying.
Peeling the fruit also cannot reduce the solanine content.
The following therefore applies to the consumption of tomatoes:
- Consume only ripe fruit
- Cut away the green spots
- Remove the tomato stalk
- All of these measures help ensure that you are not eating a potentially poisonous tomato.