Based on the latest study, it seems that tomatoes will lose their flavor if you store them in your fridge. More precisely, storing them at a temperature below 12 degrees Celsius will affect their aroma compounds, resulting in a lack of taste and flavor as well.
According to Denise Tieman, a Plant Innovation Center research associate professor at the University of Florida, a cold tomato will automatically stop producing aroma compounds, so it loses its flavor.
Tieman further added that regardless of the acids and sugars in the tomato, no flavor excitement would occur if it weren’t for the aroma compounds. During the study, scientists analyzed many tomatoes refrigerated for a day, three days, and one week.
Then, they compared them with a fresh tomato to see which suffered the most significant compound change. As it turned out, those stored in the fridge for a week had the lowest number of aroma compounds, whereas the fresh tomato had no reduction.
Those that were chilled for one and three days also experienced a moderate reduction in aroma compounds.
In order to see which tastes better, the team conducted a blind taste experiment. All participants said that the fresh ones tasted best, while the chilled tomatoes were much less tasty. By studying the genetic mechanism, researchers learned that cold temperatures were the primary factor influencing a genetic turn-off, leading to a lack of flavor.
This means that aroma compound reduction causes the tomato to lose its taste. Based on these findings, the team will continue their investigation to find out more about this issue. Also, researchers aim to find a way to prevent the flavor-associated genes from turning off when tomatoes are chilled in the fridge for several days.
One viable solution would be to breed tomatoes that would no longer lose their taste when they are stored in the fridge.
Although chilling tomatoes leads to a lack of taste, keeping them stored somewhere in the house would lead to other consequences. Tomatoes have short ‘expiration date,’ and that is the main reason why everyone keeps them in the fridge.
However, according to New Jersey farmer John Banscher, tomatoes can be safely stored on a counter, or people can simply leave them in any shaded areas. He further added that they have ‘a decent shelf life,’ so people shouldn’t worry their tomatoes will go bad.
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