Are you keeping your juicy tomatoes in the fridge? According to new research, that might not be the best idea if you like them full of flavour.
“You need that orchestra of 30 or more chemicals in the right balance to give you a good tomato”
While many of us prefer to keep soft fruits and veg chilled, scientists at the University of Florida have been investigating what’s best for our tomatoes.
As it turns out, the counter might trump the fridge.
During experiments, traditional and modern tomatoes were stored in chilly 5˚C temperatures for different periods of time—one day, three days or seven days.
After the toms were returned to room temperature, the researchers analysed the fruits, discovering that the longer they spent at cold temperatures the less flavoursome they became.
According to the team, the reason is that some of the many enzymes which control the sweetness and aroma of tomatoes are particularly sensitive to the cold. When stored at lower temperatures, these enzymes become damaged, irreversibly affecting the taste of the tomato.
Speaking to the New York Times, lead author of the study Harry Klee compared the effects of the damaged enzymes to an orchestra missing a group.
“Remove the violins and the woodwinds, you still have the noise but it's not the same. Add back the violins and it still isn't right,” he said, explaining why tomatoes don’t regain their flavour once taken out of the fridge.
“You need that orchestra of 30 or more chemicals in the right balance to give you a good tomato.”
Rather than keep your tomatoes in the fridge, Klee recommends buying them fresh and storing at room temperature - either on your kitchen counter or in a food cupboard.