If you think tomatoes today don’t taste like the ones you remember, it’s not your imagination: It’s the unintended consequence of developing tomatoes that look red overall, according to a new paper published in Science.
For decades, nearly all tomatoes have been bred to start off uniformly green so that they can be picked at the same time and thus harvested efficiently, after which they turn the desired uniform red color.
But now scientists at the University of California, Davis have discovered that the same gene mutation that is responsible for the light green color also causes tomatoes to produce less sugar and other substances that give them their flavor when they ripen.
For tastier (though not necessarily uniformly red) tomatoes, look for tomatoes at farmers and other specialty markets. And be aware that fresh tomatoes are best stored at room temperature, as they tend to lose flavor in the refrigerator.