Food & Beverage | Why tomatoes lose flavor in fridge: their genes chill out

Tastier Tomato

If you buy tomatoes from John Banscher at his farmstand in New Jersey, he’ll recommend keeping them out of the fridge or they’ll lose some of their taste.
Now scientists have figured out why: It’s because some of their genes chill out, says a study that may help solve that problem.
Cooling tomatoes below 54 degrees stops them from making some of the substances that contribute to their taste, according to researchers who dug into the genetic roots of the problem.
That robs the fruit of flavor, whether it happens in a home refrigerator or in cold storage before the produce reaches the grocery shelf, they said.
With the new detailed knowledge of how that happens, “maybe we can breed tomatoes to change that,” said researcher Denise Tieman of the University of Florida in Gainesville.
She and colleagues there, in China and at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, report their findings in a paper published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
They showed that after seven days of storage at 39 degrees, tomatoes lost some of their supply of substances that produce their characteristic aroma, which is a key part of their flavor. Three days of sitting at room temperature didn’t remedy that, and a taste test by 76 people confirmed the chilled tomatoes weren’t as good as fresh fruit.
Tomatoes stored for just one or three days didn’t lose their aroma substances.
Further research showed that the prolonged chilling reduced the activity of certain genes that make those compounds, Tieman said.
Her lab is already looking into the possibility of breeding tomatoes that don’t lose flavor in the cold, she said.
In the meantime, “Just leave them out on the counter, or leave them in a shaded area, something like that,” said Banscher, whose farm is in Gloucester County. “A tomato has a decent shelf life.”
Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer
If you buy tomatoes from John Banscher at his farmstand in New Jersey, he’ll recommend keeping them out of the fridge or they’ll lose some of their taste.
Now scientists have figured out why: It’s because some of their genes chill out, says a study that may help solve that problem.
Cooling tomatoes below 54 degrees stops them from making some of the substances that contribute to their taste, according to researchers who dug into the genetic roots of the problem.
That robs the fruit of flavor, whether it happens in a home refrigerator or in cold storage before the produce reaches the grocery shelf, they said.
With the new detailed knowledge of how that happens, “maybe we can breed tomatoes to change that,” said researcher Denise Tieman of the University of Florida in Gainesville.
She and colleagues there, in China and at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, report their findings in a paper published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
They showed that after seven days of storage at 39 degrees, tomatoes lost some of their supply of substances that produce their characteristic aroma, which is a key part of their flavor. Three days of sitting at room temperature didn’t remedy that, and a taste test by 76 people confirmed the chilled tomatoes weren’t as good as fresh fruit.
Tomatoes stored for just one or three days didn’t lose their aroma substances.
Further research showed that the prolonged chilling reduced the activity of certain genes that make those compounds, Tieman said.
Her lab is already looking into the possibility of breeding tomatoes that don’t lose flavor in the cold, she said.
In the meantime, “Just leave them out on the counter, or leave them in a shaded area, something like that,” said Banscher, whose farm is in Gloucester County. “A tomato has a decent shelf life.” Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer

It’s a sausage | US fast food chain in Malaysia told to change hot dog name

Malaysia Hot Dog Name

Hot dogs, or at least the name, will soon be off the menu for a U.S. fast food chain selling the popular snack in Malaysia.
The chain, Auntie Anne’s, has been told by Islamic authorities that its popular Pretzel Dog, which contains no dog meat, has to be renamed as it is confusing for Muslim consumers.
The Malaysian Islamic Development Department has told the U.S. company to banish the word “dog” from its menu and suggested that the frankfurter wrapped in a pretzel be called Pretzel Sausage as part of conditions to obtain halal certification based on Islamic dietary laws. Dogs are deemed unclean in Islam.
“It is more appropriate to use the name Pretzel Sausage,” the department’s halal director Sirajuddin Suhaimee told local media.
The move is not surprising in mainly Muslim Malaysia, where conservative attitudes have been on the rise. A wide range of products have been certified halal, from mineral water to a newly launched Internet browser and household products to appeal to Muslims, who make up about 60 percent of the country’s 30 million people.
Auntie Anne’s said it will comply with the request. Its halal executive, Farhatul Kamilah, said on her Facebook page that the chain has proposed several new names and was waiting for the Islamic department’s approval.
Other food outlets selling hot dogs face similar rules. U.S. fast food chain A&W earlier obtained its halal certification in Malaysia. In return, its famous root beer is simply called RB on its menu and hot dogs are coneys and franks, short for frankfurters. AP


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