We have found ourselves increasingly disappointed by the bland, mealy tomatoes showing up on grocery store shelves. Have you ever noticed that tomatoes you buy at the grocery store taste a little bland compared to your favorite tomato memories?
Well, the Los Angeles Times recently reported on a new body of research that has found the answer. As it turns out, consumers favor tomatoes that have consistent color patters. As a result, tomato breeders work very hard to make sure that their crop will possess this consistency. “But the new study, published this week in Science, found that the mutation that leads to the uniform appearance of most store-bought tomatoes has an unintended consequence: It disrupts the production of a protein responsible for the fruit’s production of sugar.” (LA Times)
In short, genetic engineering of our food strikes again. Unintended proteins (usually from other animals) that have fueled the battle against GMOs. Here, a naturally existing protein is causing bland tasting produce. This is another great example of why we should eat things the way they were originally created.
Other factors can make tomatoes taste bland also. Sunlight, watering techniques and amount of time on the vine (letting blush before picking) also have a definite impact. The best way to avoid bland tasting tomatoes at your grocery store are to purchase heirloom varieties or buy from smaller farms until you find one that is doing it right.
Don’t let big farmers ruin these delicious gems for you. Lets put an end to bland tasting grocery store tomatoes once and for all!