Should Ripe Tomatoes Go in the Fridge? Scientific Testing Seeks to Resolve the Debate

Research team from the University of Göttingen investigates the influence of storage on the flavor of ripe tomatoes.

There is much debate about the correct storage of tomatoes. There are two main options available to consumers: storage in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

A research team from the University of Göttingen has now investigated whether there are differences in the flavor of ripe tomatoes depending on how they are stored and taking into account the chain of harvesting from farm to fork. No perceptible difference was found: the variety of tomato is much more important. The results were published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science on May 13, 2020.

How does the flavor change when ripe, picked tomatoes go through a commercial post-harvest chain and are then stored either in the refrigerator (7 degrees Celsius) or at room temperature (20 degrees Celsius)?

Researchers from the Division of Quality of Plant Products at the University of Göttingen analyzed flavor-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 flavor were found between the two storage options when the entire post-harvest chain is taken into account.

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