Should tomatoes be kept in the fridge?

Friday, 22 May, 2020

Should tomatoes be kept in the fridge?

There is much debate about the correct storage of tomatoes so a research team from the University of Göttingen investigates the influence of storage on the flavour of ripe tomatoes.

There are two main options available for tomato storage: storage in the refrigerator or at room temperature. How does the flavour change when ripe, picked tomatoes go through a commercial post-harvest chain and are then stored either in the refrigerator (7°C) or at room temperature (20°C)?

Researchers from the Division of Quality of Plant Products at the University of Göttingen analysed flavour-related attributes in new tomato strains drawing on the expertise of a “sensory panel”. The sensory panel consisted of experienced and trained assessors who use their senses to perceive and evaluate the sensory properties of products. Among other attributes, this panel examined the discernible sweetness, acidity and juiciness of tomatoes. No significant differences in flavour were found between the two storage options when the entire post-harvest chain is taken into account.

Image credit: Division of Quality of Plant Products, University of Göttingen

“It is the variety of tomato in particular that has an important influence on the flavour. Therefore, the development of new varieties with an appealing flavour can be a step towards improving the flavour quality of tomatoes,” said Larissa Kanski, lead author of the study. “The shorter the storage period, the better it is for the flavour and related attributes. However, we were able to show that, taking into account the entire post-harvest chain, short-term storage of ripe tomatoes in the refrigerator did not affect the flavour,” reported Head of Division Professor Elke Pawelzik.

The results have been published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.

Top image credit: © STUDIOS

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