Tomatoes aren’t a good match with your refrigerator, as the chilling process drastically deteriorates their flavour but did you know that it actually causes their genetics to change too?
According to one study published by the National Academy of Sciences, when tomatoes are kept at temperatures of less than 68 degrees, the genes that make the fruit taste like a tomato in the first place get switched off!
Tomatoes taste the way they do because of a unique combination of sugars, acids and aromatic chemicals – and while fridge-stored tomatoes have the same amount of sugars and acids, they contain significantly less aroma compounds. Most mass market produced tomatoes will be kept at low temperatures before you purchase them, which means that by the time they’re in your hands, they are already ready to eat. If you chill them in the fridge, they’ll start to go off quickly and before long, you’ll be left with nothing but a pile of red slush!
This is one of the reasons why homegrown, or farmers market produced tomatoes taste better – because they typically haven’t undergone a cooling process that makes them lose that deliciously earthy, grassy taste. If you’ve already cut a tomato, then storing the leftover fruit face down on a plate can help to preserve it – but as we’re big fans of the natural flavour of a tomato, we still wouldn’t recommend placing them in the fridge!