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canned tomatoes sprouted
March 16, 2012
4:31 pm
Debbie R
Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
March 29, 2011
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I canned tomato chunks last year in a water bath canner.  I added lemon juice and processed them as recommended.  I've been doing it the same way for about ten years and never had a problem.  I noticed that some of the seeds in the tomatoes have sprouted ever so slightly.  There's about an 1/8" of sprout on some of the seeds.  Are the tomatoes still safe to eat?

I tried calling the Ball help line but they had never heard of such an issue.  I will admit that the tomatoes did sit in my kitchen for a couple of days after I picked them up from the farm.  Did the seeds sprout then and I'm only now noticing it?

Any suggestions?  Are they safe?


March 16, 2012
4:42 pm
Nova Scotia, Canada
Mighty Chicken
Forum Posts: 134
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February 26, 2010
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Hi Debbie R

There are many here that will have more knowledge and probably a solid answer for you, so take what I say with a grain of salt.  I live by the theory - If in question, throw it out!  One case of botulism is not worth the risk. 

Don't biff them until you hear from someone like dede, wvhomecanner, suzanne or others.

I hope they are fine for consumption.

If money was everything, the poor would never be happy and the rich would never be miserable. Author Unknown

March 16, 2012
7:20 pm
Bel Air Maryland
Forum Posts: 2426
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December 14, 2010
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I have heard of tomato seed sprouting in septic tank waste that was spread on farm fields and from seeds in canned tomatoes planted by soldiers during world war two making a crop. if you have just opened the tomatoes you can heat them in an open pan for fifteen minutes if you have any doubt.

March 16, 2012
8:29 pm
Big Chicken
Forum Posts: 89
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March 12, 2012
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If the seeds sprouted in your canned tomatoes, then they had the required air to sprout. DON'T EAT THEM. 

If the sprouts are cooked, then they sprouted before you canned them and they should be fine IF the cans remained sealed.

Put them in the sun, if they grow, then....plant the buggers and enjoy another crop.

Perhaps sprouted tomatoes have as much added benefit as sprouted grain.

March 26, 2012
1:27 pm
Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
May 7, 2011
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I don't think it's ever a good idea to eat sprouted tomato seeds, as they are in the deadly nightshade family along with potatoes, eggplant, peppers, tobacco, etc, and the leaves are probably toxic. Some of the leaves in that family are extremely toxic even in small amounts. I like the idea of planting them and eating THOSE tomatoes!

April 4, 2012
10:37 pm
North Central WV

Forum Posts: 3159
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February 8, 2009
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Debbie, just now seeing this and I have had tomato seeds sprout inside the tomatoes themselves while sitting on the counter. I am betting that these were already sprouted when you canned them and are just fine to eat. Do the boil-before-tasting if you are concerned, but I wouldn't be.



If common sense were truly common, wouldn't there be more evidence of it?

April 5, 2012
10:28 am
Iron County MO
Mighty Chicken
Forum Posts: 226
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August 6, 2010
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I am a botanist, by education and avocation, and I will state unequivocably that it is impossible for tomato seeds to sprout after being canned.  The germ in the seed would be killed by canning temperatures (or any temp over 140 degrees),

The seeds probably sprouted inside the tomatoes while they sat on your counter.  I don't think there would be any problem eating the canned tomatoes.

Tomato seeds are tough, and often sprout from sewage sludge, but heat kills seeds. 

I just haven't been the same since that house fell on my sister.

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