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A kitchen wisdom teaches: Do not store tomatoes in the fridge, they lose their taste there. Researchers from Florida only found out why this is the case a few years ago.

As is well known, tomatoes continue to ripen after they have been harvested. Green tomatoes can still turn red even when picked – just like many other fruits still ripen. This already indicates that after they have been picked, a genetic program continues to run in them, which allows them to mature and which also releases aromas.

However, the very genes that drive tomato ripening become less active during prolonged cold weather. Your genetic information is read less often. As a result, they produce fewer flavors, while the flavors that were already in there evaporate in the fridge. As a result, the tomato releases aroma substances into the environment, but no longer produces any new ones, and so the aroma balance is negative. After a week in the refrigerator, only a fraction of the original aroma remains.

The researchers tried this with different tomato varieties, both traditional and newer breeds. And they fed them to test subjects. The verdict on taste was clear: on average, the fresh tomatoes tasted better than those that had been in the fridge for a week.

The researchers also analyzed the tomatoes to find out exactly which aromatic substances are lost. Because the tomato flavor is made up of organic acids, carbohydrates and more than 60 different volatile compounds – and it is precisely these that show the difference. They are called volatile because they can evaporate through the base of the stalk – where the tomato is known to have the strongest scent. At room temperature, the tomato cells reproduce these aromatic substances – but much less in the refrigerator. And so, after a cool week, the tomato has lost two-thirds of those flavor molecules.

By the way, four years ago, tomato researchers discovered something else: in the past, many tomatoes were green at the base of the stalk. Over time, the tomatoes were bred to be uniform red. But with this breeding, the tomatoes lost an important aroma gene. As a result, uniformly red tomatoes do not taste as aromatic as those varieties that remain green at the base of the stem. Nevertheless, even if the above green tomatoes taste better overall, the green one should not be eaten as it contains substances that are not so digestible.

Source: swr

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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