Ugly Tomatoes Are The Best Tomatoes

July  2, 2012

It's no secret that certain supermarket tomatoes tend to taste super bland, but did you know why they're so watery? According to new research, the milquetoast flavor is genetically linked to their shiny, pretty exteriors.

For years, farmers have been selecting for a gene mutation that makes tomatoes ripen uniformly, giving them that perfect, commercial-ready glow. By changing the amount of chlorophyll in the fruit, farmers have been able to select for rosy red harvests. However, this gene doesn't just change the tomatoes appearance—it also messes with the ripening process, reducing both sugar and the "tomato-y taste."

If you want to know the science behind the whole process, here is the original article, published last month in Science Mag. But if you just want to know the secret to mouthwatering salads, here it is: when it comes to tomatoes, think like Jimmy Soul and always choose ugly. Your tastebuds will thank you.

Here's Why The Prettiest Tomatoes Taste The Worst from Grist

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Katy K

Written by: Katy K

I'm a writer/editor based out of Somerville, Massachusetts. In addition to blogging for Food 52, I also work as the community manager of MSN's Postbox Boston and as the editor of I'm obsessed with food, art and anything that combines the two. My favorite recipes are simple and fresh (like beet salad with arugula and goat cheese). When I'm not working or cooking, I can be found on my hands and knees in the backyard, trying to coax carrots out of the dirt.