If you keep your tomatoes in the fridge, you might want to rethink your storage technique.
A new study has confirmed that the popular salad items lose some of their flavour when kept chilled.
Researchers at University of Florida studied tomatoes’ genes and found that when the fruits were stored in temperatures below 12°C, some of the enzymes in the fruit became less effective.
These enzymes are responsible for combining volatile compounds, which help to impart the fruit’s flavour.
“Commercial tomatoes are widely perceived by consumers as lacking flavour. A major part of that problem is a post-harvest handling system that chills fruits,” the study’s authors wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
To conduct the study, researchers took ripe tomatoes grown in a greenhouse and divided them into three groups.
The first group was stored at 5°C with 92% relative humidity for seven days and then transferred to 20°C for a one-day recovery period.
In the second group, tomatoes were held at 5°C for eight days without a recovery period.
Meanwhile the third group of tomatoes was picked and tested one day later, without chilling.
Researchers discovered that seven days of sitting in a cold environment reduced the number of volatile compounds in tomatoes by up to 65%. And even the brief recovery period after being chilled did nothing to restore these levels.
After being taste-tested and judged by 76 people, the verdict was that fruits which had been stored at a lower temperature were less tasty overall.