Sunday, July 15, 2012

Supermarket Tomatoes Lack Chloroplasts in the Fruit -- that is why They Taste Bland.

Depth of Processing readers probably think that I am obsessed with tomato posts, but Cuong Nguyen at Cornell found a mutated gene in most cultivars of tomatoes that reduce the number of chloropasts in the tomato fruit. 

This gives the fruit a more even color, so that tomato buyers will think a fruit is uniformly ripe even when it is not. 

Importantly, it turns out the chloroplasts also kick out tasty, flavorful chemicals too. This means the commercial varieties are going to taste poorer. 

Haven't you always wondered why commercial growers did not try to breed flavor into the fruit? 

These tomatoes have chloroplasts and have uneven color.
It helps explain why radically different cultivars like Kumato taste better. Check out my Kumato blog post --one of the DoP blog's most popular.  Kumato is a black tomato created relatively recently from salt-resistant cultivars on Galapogos.

Anana Noir, a French tomato, touted for flavor, that
clearly does not ripen evenly. 
Other people claim that Pruden's Purple is one of the best tomatoes for taste, and it is a large, dark and irregularly ripening fruit.  At right is Anana Noir, that ripens very irregularly, but which is supposed to taste great.

This does not help me with why my orange cherry tomatoes taste so good. Perhaps it is because they are so sweet?

The big question going forward is, what will commercial growers do now. Will they look for another way to get good appearance while retaining the flavor producing chloroplasts, or will appearance prevail?