Tomatoes have the potential to be one of tastiest ingredients out! If you have ever eaten a home grown vine ripened tomato, or just been to Italy where they understand the importance of picking tomatoes only once they have ripened, then you will realise that tomatoes can offer up deliciously wonderful flavour.
If you’ve ever picked an eaten a tomato you will likely have realised that much of the time you have been missing out on the best a tomato has to offer if it is store bought.
This is because it has most likely been picked while still unripe, which means that the sugars and flavour compounds are not fully developed. These will not develop significantly once a tomato has been picked. Obviously there is no real way of getting around this, most of the time store bought tomatoes are the only option you have. That is just the way it is.
So when it comes to store bought tomatoes you are already at a disadvantage, and even if you aren’t and are lucky enough to be in possession of a vine ripened fruits, then you will want to maintain every single bit of delicious flavour you can in the tasty tomato.
Well the fact is the refrigerator decreases the flavour of a tomato. They contain flavour compounds which go by the chemical name of Z-3-Dexanol which shut down once they reach a temperature below 10°C. In fact many flavour compounds in the tomato don’t like the cold. So if you do come across an offending tomato in the refrigerator then make sure you bring it back to room temperature before you eat it.
This also goes for most fruit, especially tomatoes and strawberries. If you are thinking to yourself that you will continue with this heathen crime of the refrigerator because you want longevity in your fruit over flavour – well shame on you! Flavour is number one, and the fact is that you should eat your fruit well before it goes off. Old fruit is not only less flavoursome, but also less nutritious.
Oh and one final little fact is that it is in the vine (or stem) of the tomato where most of the smell compounds live. Which is why if you smell that delicious aroma of the vine ripened tomato it will be because it still has the stem attached. Tomatoes themselves have very little scent. You can utilise this by putting the stems in any sauce you are brewing. This will impart some of the delicious smells of the vine ripened tomato. Remember smell is an important part of the eating process. Also remember to remove those stems before serving your food – they are not good eating!