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Why You Should Never Put Tomatoes in the Fridge!

Why You Should Never Put Tomatoes in the Fridge!

♪♪♪ You may have been told that putting tomatoes
in your fridge will ruin them. It turns out, that’s kind of true. Scientists have shown that reducing a tomato’s
temperature to below 20°C alters its gene expression, which in turn reduces its yummy
tomato smell. So putting tomatoes in the fridge actually
does make a lot of their ripe, juicy flavor disappear! You might think a food’s flavor is determined
by the specific mix of chemicals that lands on your tongue. And it is… partially. But by definition, flavor is the overall impression
you get from consuming a food or beverage, an impression which results from both taste
and smells. There are only a handful of distinctive tastes
that your taste buds can differentiate: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. Scents, on the other hand, are practically
limitless. Some research suggests the average person’s
nose can distinguish between one trillion different odors, and all that variety could
explain why scent is the largest determinant of flavor. It’s like when you were a kid and your parents
made you eat something you didn’t like, and you would hold your nose while you downed
it. Plugging your nose and blocking the smell
of something is actually enough to seriously diminish the flavor because flavor is so reliant
on smell. Which brings us back to those tomatoes. A tomato’s flavor is the result of a combination
of tasty sugars and acids, as well as chemicals called aroma compounds, the molecules that
easily leap into the air to give things their distinct smell. And even after picking, the fruit continues
to make some of these and break down others. It’s still full of living cells, so the
overall flavor of the tomato can change over time. In a 2016 study, when researchers put ripe
tomatoes in the fridge for 7 days, volunteers rated the taste of those chilled tomatoes
as much less yummy than fresh ones. But the sugar and acid levels, those key components
of taste, didn’t differ between the fresh and chilled fruits. What did change were those aroma compounds:
refrigerated tomatoes produced 65% less of them. That led the team to conclude that the change
in the tomato’s flavor is caused by a reduction in its odor molecules, not due to a change
in its actual taste! When they dug deeper, they found that the
refrigerated tomatoes had reduced expression of genes related to the synthesis of certain
molecules, including branched amino acids, fatty acids and esters, three key compounds
that are important for aroma compound synthesis. The researchers hypothesized that this could
be an evolutionary response for conserving energy when it is cold, though they’d need
further evidence to confirm that idea. It’s not just tomatoes that are ruined by
refrigeration, of course. You might have noticed that a lot of different
fruits seem to taste worse after a stint in the fridge, but this is generally thought
to be because lower temperatures halt the ripening process. As a fruit ripens, it produces different aroma
compounds, and it gains sugars and other tasty molecules. So the less ripe a fruit is, the less yummy
it will be. But if you take these fruits out of the fridge
and put them on the counter, they will start ripening again and recover most of their flavor. And once they’re ripe, you’re supposed
to be able to put them back into the cold to keep them at that tasty sweet point for
longer. But the researchers in this study weren’t
starting with under-ripe tomatoes— they were starting with ripe ones. So the loss of flavor wasn’t because they
prevented them from becoming fully ripe. And taking the tomatoes out of the fridge
didn’t fully fix things. So basically, there’s no point in a tomato’s
ripening process where you can refrigerate them without losing flavor. It’s possible, or even likely, this kind
of cold-induced flavor loss happens in other ripe fruits, too. But as of yet, no one has really looked. Either way, if you want the best-tasting produce,
you should probably leave your fruits on the counter until they are ripe, and never ever
put your tomatoes in the fridge. Though, if you really want the tastiest tomatoes,
you should probably go for more colorful ones, because the rosiest red tomatoes you see in
stores just don’t taste as good. Check out our episode on Why Tomatoes Are
So Bland to find out why! And as always, thanks for watching, and don’t
forget to subscribe! ♪♪♪

100 thoughts on “Why You Should Never Put Tomatoes in the Fridge!”

  1. Wtf is this? Can scishow please talk about interesting things again… The only fregging time tomatoes taste different is when you grow them yourself and that's because the cat shat on them outside in the garden and you were too lazy to wash them even though you know you should have.

  2. What about the graininess some tomatoes have?
    It seems like every bad fast food joint has them and it's almost all you can get in vegas

  3. Bananas, much like tomatoes, are ruined by refrigeration. Perhaps it has something to do with refrigeration stifling ethylene gas production that happens during the ripening process.

  4. Is this the video mentioned at the end? Because my iPad didn’t show anything clickable, and the link is not in the description.

  5. This is all HOOEY! Always put mater's in da fridge. Better that way. Are you eating them for the taste or it's gotta smell good. Good grief. Cold lettuce, warm tomatoes. Oh, that sounds yummy. Gag!

  6. My husband lost his sense of taste and smell 14 years ago after a severe brain injury. I always thought that would be a fate worse than death! He also doesn’t feel hunger or fullness.

    Quite the fate for a chef who trained in Italy.

  7. Good news! I got the YouTube Vanced app's so I can sub to your channel without being harassed by those shitty stories!!

  8. Shouldn't the scientists who did that experiment use tomatoes that were picked at the same time as the refrigerated ones to account for a possible change in aroma compounds due to time passing?

  9. double blind taste test? no? just chemicals? well, facts are facts & tomato lasts longer in the fridge. those "ripe juicy flavors" are just fart gasses. all the warm tomato people are savoring the literal taste of farts. ripe off the vine is not the same as warm from the grocery store. most of those tomatoes aren't even ripe yet… they're just tricked into turning red. would you rather eat a cold cucumber or a warm one? it's a preference. and I don't like the taste of nitrogen compounds (i.e. farts). that whole gene expression is there to fertilize the soil the seeds are supposed to grow in. plants need nitrogen. it's decomposing. mmm fermented tomats 🙄

  10. Hmmm the hell is wrong with this channel? You guys are telling people to do something that's dangerous. Stupid people will do it.

  11. Damn…if grocery stores sold tasty yummy tomatoes I'd keep my tasty tomatoes out of the fridge….but since pretty much all the stores I've been to in the last decade sell friggin tasteless bland tomatoes I keep them in the fridge…mass tomatoes manufacturers need to have there tasteless tomatoes shoved up there ass…lazy money hungry tomatoe growers get with the program and start at least to make them more tasty…my ham sandwich demands it!!!

  12. so were the "fresh" tomatoes bought at the same time? cuz yeah of course fresh tomatoes would taste better than 7 day old refrigerated ones

  13. I hate fruit flies, so all my fruit, except bananas, goes in my fridge. :/ once it’s winter I’m sure the little bastards will die off

  14. Produce should be used within a week anyway.

    So there's almost no need to lengthen their duration in a fridge over flavor, except during cold season, or something else requiring clearing entire crops.

    Even then precooking and canning can store them long term.

    Just another case of modern life overtaking some of the older practices, but not actually making things better.

  15. For all the people saying they're getting moldy produce after only a couple days;
    It's because big store have much of the produce ripened before they display them, rather than actual fresh food, and cross contamination of mold spores and bacteria from things that are over ripe(thus then rotting) in the same display.

    Do your self a favor;
    source the shops produce, if they bring it in fresh you can ripen it in your own home,
    or you can buy local straight from a grower,
    grow it yourself,
    even barring too much work you could(experiment) just buy from various places and find a place that sells things that last longer.

  16. What if I put green tomatoes in the fridge and then take them out and let them ripe? Would that work and taste ok?

  17. Supermarket tomatoes in the US are bred for yield and size, not for flavor. Home grown and heirloom tomatoes from local farms are much tastier. Canned tomatoes are tastier too because they are made from ripe tomatoes as opposed to the often unripe tomatoes destined for store shelves.

  18. A SciShow on the science of racism would be great. Elaborate on the stark difference in presenters of color on PBS funded shows and why that is so.
    Thank you.

  19. I don't like her. I..just get this kinda cunty vibe from this one. Like she's mean and bitchy irl and hates men or something.

  20. If it has the same nutritional value then I dont even mind. The cold tomato has indeed less flavour but better texture

  21. Grow your own and learn how to stagger when picking them. Leave your yellow tomatoes in a dark box and pull them out when you're down to one or two fully ripe on the shelf. As long as the skin is not punctured or damaged you have a 2 to 3 week window before spoiling. Dropping a half ripened banana in the box will ripen a solid green tomato in 5 days. Tomatoes belong out of the direct sun on a shelf at room temperature or properly canned for the best flavor.

  22. Many flavors and smells are demished when dropping their temperature, not just tomatoes. That is why many foods are more tasty hot, warm or even room temp. Even roses smell less arromatic when kept cold, butter, meats, bananas and many things are similar.

  23. And this is why bitter (the "hoppy" beer) shouldn't be chilled. You can chill lager and American "beer"-in-a-can (not the properly brewed stuff) because they're all more or less tasteless anyway. Regarding the latter, that's what my Canadian friends say lol. (I tried a Bud once. It was the most pointless exercise in drinking ever.) If you chill bitter, you lose the taste, especially the refreshing bitterness!

  24. Also, they should have examined tomatoes refrigerated for 7 days that were then cooked, versus “fresh” tomatoes that were cooked for flavour. This is because I don’t eat raw tomatoes, I use them in cooking.

  25. Did they try getting the refrigerated tomatoes to the same temperature as the non-refrigerated ones though?
    Otherwise, it could just be that the temperature is the determinant factor. Same goes for loads of things, so it's not something that should be left out of a study.

    Try drinking a cold IPA beer and then trying it at room temperature, or try chilling most red wines.

  26. So this video has been in my feed for a week and it keeps leaping out at me. Tomato in the fridge. Is this such a crime? Does it turn into poison? Is this the source of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes…? Does it grow a billion eyes to look at you for the horror its enduring? Finally watched. OK. Got it.

  27. So for all the people saying they get moldy, do it like with potatoes!
    Dry, dark, and slightly cold
    Take a bag or a box and lay it out with newspaper all around, (not crumbled tho) then keep it in a cupboard or something like that and check once a week or so.
    Tomatoes are good for weeks and potatoes for months (:

  28. I constanly have problems with fruitflies in the summertime. So, Tomates, Grapes, Peaches, Kiwis and Watermelons go inside the vegetable compartment of the fridge. Period. Even the supermarkets put the fresh produce (including Tomatoes) inside a cool storage in the evenings and put them back on display before the store opens the next day. My tomates always tasted good even after they were in the fridge. However you have to wait before eating them, until they have reached room-temperature. Unless they are supposed to go inside a sauce. Then it don't matter

  29. I leave my tomatoes on the kitchen window sill where they receive a few hours of Aussie sunlight and continue to ripen and developed flavour for up to 2 weeks. Keep them separated a little from each other. Very infrequent spoilage this way, and intense fragrant fruit results.

  30. Well, most places store their products in cold chamber or the fruits are moved from a far away place in a refrigerated truck. So the only way to actually taste a real tomato is to buy it in a short circuit local store, or grow them yourself

  31. Well, you know what they say… You can take the tomato out of the fridge, but you can't take the fridge out of the tomato!

  32. I stopped refrigerating tomatoes years ago because of this. I shop once a week and go thru about one a day, and 99% of the time, the last one is still good at the end of the week. I look at them and use the ripest looking one each day. I also look at them when buying, as damaged ones will rot really fast.

  33. 20deg C (68deg F) is not very cold. If the hypothesis is that you can't undo damage to tomato flavor once they have been stored below that temp, then you might as well refrigerate them, as most stores I go to need a winter coat to shop at. I would be shocked if they ever left their grocery get above 18deg C (65def F)

  34. Okay so I just took the tomatoes out of the fridge. But you're only saying that refrigerated tomatoes taste worse than non-refrigerated. But how long will a tomato last non-refrigerated than refrigerated?

  35. IF YOU PICK YOUR OWN TOMATOES FROM YOUR BACK YARD THEN THEY WON'T LAST LONG BECAUSE THEY TASTE SO GOOD. Anything bought at the store hs been refrigerated to like 5 degrees Celsius.

  36. "taste" is way more than just aroma. They are completely ignoring the flavor triangle (taste + aroma + texture)
    don't believe me? try eating a soggy chip or leaving ice cream out at room temperature to "maximize" the aroma

  37. Wouldn't a colder temperature also mean less active molecules which means a a less intense smell and or taste?

  38. My cats think fruits and vegetables are to play with, so I store everything in the fridge >.<

  39. If you want the best tasting tomato just grow your own honestly. But yeah, as everyone else has said, I'd rather have a bland tomato than a rotten one. I'll keep using the fridge for my store bought items.

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