Gerry Odell, Chief Farming Officer of Lipman Produce, talks about tomatoes the way some people talk about wine. "There's a lot of aromatic compounds you can encounter in a tomato that will influence its final flavor," he said to me last week. We were talking about taste. Mr. Odell considers three components when biting into a fleshy wedge of tomato: acid, sugar, and aromatic compounds, the three combining to form flavor. Luckily for us, Mr. Odell shared his top three tomato myths that, now debunked, will no longer hinder our enjoyment of the tasty summer fruit.
Myth #1: "You should keep tomatoes in the refrigerator after purchase."
Reality: "One of the reasons tomatoes may have poor flavor is the way they're handled after purchase. If they're stored at a low temperature, whatever flavor the tomato may have will disappear pretty rapidly in the refrigerator."
Solution: Store tomatoes on the counter top. If you want a chillier fruit, put the tomato in the fridge just before serving.
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Myth #2: "There's no right way to slice a tomato."
Reality: "However you cut it, you want to get all of the parts in each slice or wedge. You want the gel, you want the interior, and you want the exterior wall to be in each piece because they all contribute to the flavor and mouth feel of the tomato."
Solution: Slice tomatoes across what Mr. Odell calls "the axis of the tomato," an imaginary line "that runs from the stem end to the blossom end." Make sure each of the tomato's parts is in every slice.
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Myth #3: "Smaller varieties have a higher flavor."
Reality: "Although a lot of the time very small-fruited types do have very intense flavor, there are large-fruited varieties which are extremely flavorful. Taste doesn't really relate to size."Solution: Eat tomatoes of all sizes!
Be sure to check out our favorite recipes that use tomatoes if you're planning on debunking tomato myths for yourself. Got more questions about the best ways to prepare tomatoes? Be sure to ask them in the comments!
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