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Why do most of the mass-marketed tomatoes have inferior flavor and texture?

These tomatoes have a relatively bland flavor and a cottony texture because commercial growers harvest their produce prematurely, and so the tomatoes are still very green, immature, and unripe when picked. This practice reduces spoilage losses because the tomatoes are less fragile and are therefore better shippers - and being less perishable, they are marketable longer.

The tomatoes are red when they reach the store because the food industry artificially turns them red by gassing them with ethylene. If they had been left on the vine to ripen naturally, they would have generated their own ethylene gas in time enough to trigger the color change. Though both artificially ripened and vine-ripened tomatoes are red, those that are reddened by nature have significantly better flavor, aroma, and texture.

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11:22:54 on 10/04/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -