Why Do Heirloom Tomatoes Have Scars?

Why Do Heirloom Tomatoes Have Scars?

Emily Han
Jul 22, 2013

With their clefts and scars, heirloom tomatoes can be at once both ugly and beautiful. Called catfacing, this scarring is perfectly safe to eat, but what causes it? 

Catfacing rarely looks like an actual cat (if only!) but you'll recognize it as brownish scars and scabs at the blossom end of a tomato. Though not all heirloom tomatoes develop catface, it's more common in heirlooms because they haven't been bred for commercial perfection. Several factors may lead to scarring, the most common being exposure to cool temperatures during pollination. 

In light cases catfacing just grazes the surface of the fruit, but sometimes it can form rough, deep cracks. If the scars are unpalatable, simply cut those areas away. 

How do you like to eat heirloom tomatoes? Check out some of our favorite simple recipes

(Image: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan)

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