I frequently say that the way I feel about tomatoes is "immoral" because I "lust" for them. I haven't had a decent-tasting red tomato since my brother Norman died; he always planted
Gerald's brother-in-law Jerry was a champion tomato grower, usually introducing an unusual tomato each year--one year he produced a BLACK tomato-- along with his marvelous varieties, but Jerry is no longer able to garden. My brother Duke raises only yellow tomatoes which I also relish, but nothing satisfies like a luscious, hot-from-the-garden red tomato. Gerald has planted numerous types throughout the years, but most have disappointed.
When I whined that "tomatoes don't taste as good as they used to", I was told that "as we get older", we lose our taste buds. I replied, "Oh, Hell, I can tell if something tastes different!"
It's not just your imagination. Today's tomatoes simply don't taste the way they used to, and now science has told us why. Researchers working on a study published in the journal Science, performed exhaustive taste tests of 100 tomato varieties and sequenced the genomes of nearly 400 varieties.
They were able to identify 23 volatile compounds that give a tomato its flavor. Unfortunately, many of these compounds, plus essential sugars, are missing from today's supermarket tomatoes; they were inadvertently lost when the industry sought to maximize yields and improve tomatoes' resistance to pests and disease.
Study author Antonio Grannel said, "The flavor got lost because people didn't know that the molecular and genetic bases were, so they couldn't apply them. Major seed producers are expected to use the new genetic information to make seeds that will grow into new, tastier tomatoes, possibly within 4 years."
FOUR YEARS? I cannot wait four years. Gotta get some heirloom seeds!