How Tomatoes Lost Their Taste

It's no secret that supermarket tomatoes are grown for their looks and not for their taste, but how where exactly did growers go wrong in developing taste tomatoes?

Science has the answer, and the culprit is how we love that uniform red color:

Sometime before 1930, somewhere in America, a tomato grower noticed a plant that was producing distinctive fruit. These fruit turned red from stem to tip in a uniform way. They didn't have any of those bothersome green shoulders.

It was a new mutation, and plant breeders saw it as the next big thing.

They called it the "uniform ripening" trait. In 1930, the agricultural experiment station in Fargo, N.D., released a new tomato variety containing this mutation. The variety was called All Red. [...]

The researchers discovered that this natural tomato gene, when it works properly, produces those green shoulders on tomatoes. The darker green color comes from the chlorophyll in plant structures called chloroplasts, which is what converts sunlight into sugars for the plant. In fact, those dark green shoulders were making those old tomatoes sweeter and creating more flavor.

The uniform-ripening mutation disabled this gene.

Dan Charles of NPR's All Things Considered has the story: Link

Previously on Neatorama: Tasty Tomatoes


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The reason grocery store tomatoes aren't as flavorful as garden grown is because most grocery store tomatoes aren't ripe. They're simply red. In order to get them to market, they're picked too early and then exposed to a ripening agent to get the proper color. This is nowhere near as good as vine ripening.

Also, you shouldn't refrigerate tomatoes. It deactivates flavor and aroma creating enzymes. They're never going to be the same even after they warm up.
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