Storage Wars

Five tomates attached by the vine in a woden bowl.

You say “tomato.”  I say, “Counter or fridge?”

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with The Loh Down on Science.

Tomatoes! They can be the most delectable food on the planet — or taste like cardboard.  Why?

Larissa Kanski and colleagues at the University of Göttingen, Germany were curious. They wondered if the WAY we store tomatoes improves their flavor.

To find out, they studied five different species of tomato plants. They stored about a dozen tomatoes from each plant in different ways. Half were stored at room temperature. The other half were stored in a refrigerator. Finally, they blended each batch of tomatoes up! They tested the amount of flavor molecules and sugars, and made their decision. Not to mention a delicious marinara! Results?

Surprise, foodies! Turns out there’s almost NO difference between chilly and room temp tomatoes! The biggest difference was actually between PLANTS. Black Cherry tomato plants were the sweetest. This means that tomato flavor ISN’T affected by the way they’re stored.

Sorry, tomatoes! MY precious fridge space is reserved for chocolate cake and Bartles & Jaymes!

Reference: Kanski L, Naumann M and Pawelzik E (2020) Flavor-Related Quality Attributes of Ripe Tomatoes Are Not Significantly Affected Under Two Common Household Conditions. Front. Plant Sci. 11:472. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00472