Tomato lovers rejoice: Adding or rearranging a few simple steps in commercial processing could dramatically improve the flavor of this popular fruit sold in the grocery store, according to researchers.
"Ideally, tomatoes should be picked ripe and then sold immediately, as they are at farm stands," says Jinhe Bai, Ph.D. But this isn't always possible for commercially sold tomatoes, which are often stored and then shipped over long distances.
To prevent tomatoes from becoming too ripe before they reach the store, growers pick them when they are still green. Packers then use a gas called ethylene to trigger fruit ripening, and after that the tomatoes are stored and shipped at low temperatures.