What substance is coming off my tomatoes?
July 30, 2014 4:46 PM   Subscribe

Hello, We had some "off the vine" tomatoes we bought at the store and I was cleaning them with water and wiped them with a paper towel and noticed a yellowish stain on the paper towel. I wiped very well, then rinsed and finally the new paper towel I used was clean. What do you think this is? Is it tomato tar?
posted by lynnie-the-pooh to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I just washed the same thing off of my hands after picking our tomatoes in our backyard. I think it's this.
posted by the webmistress at 4:58 PM on July 30, 2014 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: The color is coming off of the SKIN of the tomato. I just wanted to clarify.
posted by lynnie-the-pooh at 5:02 PM on July 30, 2014

I think it's a little sketch if they are from the store. I would return them.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:02 PM on July 30, 2014

Could it be tinted food wax, to keep the tomatoes juicy and looking appealing?
posted by batter_my_heart at 5:20 PM on July 30, 2014

Could it be a tomato somewhere in the case they shipped in got squished, leaked tomato juice which dried on your tomato? I have orange stains in the bottom of my tomato picking basket and that's what I assumed they where from.
posted by wwax at 5:22 PM on July 30, 2014

I notice this on particularly fresh tomatoes, and always called it tomato tar. I think the webmistress has got it.
posted by Specklet at 5:26 PM on July 30, 2014

Response by poster: When you look at the tomatoes they look clean and you don't see anything on them, then you wipe them with water and wipe the paper towel on the skin and the paper towel turns yellowish. But there is not actual residue, it's just coloring.

Then, once it's gone, the new paper towel shows nothing.
posted by lynnie-the-pooh at 5:28 PM on July 30, 2014

Yeah this is just the tomato dust that the webmistress links to. Nothing to worry about.
posted by librarina at 7:59 PM on July 30, 2014

Yup, normal. I worked on a farm and harvesting tomatoes turns my skin and everything else yellow... Clothes too, so I'd imagine paper towels are fair game as well.
posted by jrobin276 at 8:47 PM on July 30, 2014

Tomato tar, tomato dust, tomato...dandruff? Whatever you want to call it, it's totally normal. It's also totally normal for it to migrate from the stems and get onto the tomatoes. It's fine, it's nature -- wash your tomatoes before you eat them, of course, but no need to eradicate it before eating the tomato.
posted by desuetude at 9:40 PM on July 30, 2014

Webmistress has it. I've always considered it a sign of a good tomato, probably because I associate it with the picking tomatoes fresh from the garden. There's no cause for alarm. The powder probably will even smell tomatoey and green, for lack of a better descriptor.
posted by purple_bird at 9:26 AM on July 31, 2014

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