If you have ever grown your own tomatoes, you may have noticed that they are green before they ripen and turn red. Sometimes the weather turns before your last tomatoes are ripe, and you may wonder if you can pluck them off the vine and eat them green.
Tomatoes are members of the nightshade family, and they produce an alkaloid called tomatine. Tomatine is toxic, but it isn’t deadly. However, if you eat a lot of it, it can cause stomach problems, liver, and possibly heart damage. This alkaloid is present in the leaves, stems, and unripe green tomatoes.
Are Green Tomatoes Poisonous to People?
Green tomatoes do contain tomatine, which is toxic to people. However, it would take large amounts of tomatine to make somebody sick. However, people who have autoimmune disorders should avoid all tomatoes because they can lead to inflammation.
Tomatoes also contain a toxin called atropine, and it can cause stomach discomfort, especially when they eat them with hot peppers. It is rare that it causes a problem, but it can. Some people are more sensitive to these toxins to others, and they should avoid eating green tomatoes.
Are Green Tomatoes Poisonous to Dogs?
Although green tomatoes contain the toxin tomatine, they are not poisonous to dogs. A dog would have to consume a lot of tomatoes to have a reaction. The leaves, stem, and vine of tomatoes also contain this toxin, but it is unlikely that a dog would eat enough to have a reaction.
Ripe tomatoes are fine for dogs to eat, and many dog food manufacturers include them in the ingredients. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, and the liquid is removed, leaving most of the nutrition there. The fiber helps support your dog’s healthy digestion, and it also aids in maintaining blood sugar levels. In addition, tomatoes contain potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
If you feed too many tomatoes to your dog, it can cause an upset stomach. Tomatoes are acidic, which can cause diarrhea. You can cook tomatoes for dogs, and you can make tomato pomace. This is made from the ripe fruit, and it also uses the skin, pulp, and seeds.
Are Green Tomatoes Poisonous to Cats?
Green tomatoes are poisonous to cats. The ASPCA has all tomatoes on the “not recommended” list for cats. They contain solanine, which is toxic to cats. Eating green tomatoes, the stems, or the leaves can cause stomach problems, lethargy, slowed heart rate, and more.
The ASPCA does say that ripened red tomatoes are safe. In fact, a small amount of red tomatoes are often added to the cat food. Tomato sauce is not considered to be good for cats. The main reason is that tomato sauce is often made with a lot of salt, and salt can cause problems for cats, including excessive thirst, seizures, and poisoning.
Are Green Tomatoes Poisonous to Livestock?
Green tomatoes are very poisonous to horses, to goats, to sheep, and to chickens. Tomatoes contain multiple toxins that are dangerous for horses, including atropine and solanine. It is important to keep your horses away from tomato plants because eating too much can cause diarrhea and colic.
Ripe tomatoes are not good for horses. Atropine is dangerous for horses because it slows their digestive system. Eating tomatoes can cause colic, which is a potentially deadly illness in horses.
Goats should not eat green tomatoes. They shouldn’t eat any of the green parts, including stems, leaves, and the unripened fruit. They can cause stomach issues for goats, and you should make sure that your goats can’t access them. Sheep have the same reaction. They can consume a lot of the plants in a short period of time, which is why it is potentially more harmful to them.
Green tomatoes are also poisonous to chickens, and they should not eat them. They can eat ripened red tomatoes, but they shouldn’t eat a lot of them. Chickens love tomatoes, but they should be limited.
Are Green Tomatoes Poisonous to Wild Animals?
Green tomatoes are considered poisonous to deer, and they are one of the deer-resistant fruits. However, deer will eat the leaves and stems. Deer, birds, squirrels, and raccoons will eat tomatoes, but they usually only take a bite or two. Wild animals have good instincts about what they can and can’t eat, so they don’t eat enough to cause a problem.
Green tomatoes can also be poisonous to rabbits. This is especially the case if the plant is consumed in large amounts. The toxins are in the unripe fruit, the stems, and the leaves. You can let rabbits eat small amounts of ripe tomatoes, but keep your unripe tomatoes protected from wild rabbits in the garden.
Why Are Tomatoes Poisonous?
Tomato plants are part of the nightshade family, which are mostly quite poisonous to people and to animals. However, tomatoes aren’t as poisonous as some of their cousins. Bell peppers and eggplant are also in this family.
The toxic substance is called solanine, and it protects these plants against insects and other predators. They also contain tomatine, and these two toxins can lead to fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, drowsiness, and lethargic behavior.
Ripened red tomatoes are not poisonous for biological reasons. The tomatoes are dependent on their fruit being eaten because the seeds are inside. As a result, the toxins don’t exist inside of the ripe red tomatoes.
Some people believe that green tomatoes are okay if they are cooked. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Both tomatine and solanine are resistant to heat, so they aren’t broken down when the green tomatoes are cooked.
However, there are a few tomato types that stay green when they are ripe. This includes the Absinthe and Green doctors tomatoes. It is hard to tell when they are ripe by looking at them, but you can tell by the taste. They are sweet when they are ripe. The toxins also disappear in ripe green tomatoes, so they are safe.