Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I bought a tomato today...

I had this incredible urge for the taste of a good, old-fashioned BLT sandwich. Remember when you were a kid and got to eat tomatoes right off the vine? I remember almost celebrating the first tomatoes! Well, I guess I was feeling reminiscent today and that is the taste I wanted. So I walked up to my local grocery and bought what looked like a perfectly ripe tomato!
I was practically tasteless!! I was sooo dissapointed. So much so, in fact, that I did a little research on "modern-day" tomatoes to find out what happened! Thanks to this is what they said! (and I quote)
#1 - The red tomatoes are really green tomatoes! (Yes, you read it correctly) It's no magic trick, but a feat of modern science.
Ripe tomatoes are very soft, so they are picked green. Instead of letting them ripen, however, they are piled into a gas house and exposed to ethylene gas.
Why ethylene gas? This is the same chemical that the tomato gives off internally when allowed to naturally ripen. The gassing tricks the tomato into producing that nice red color. It looks ripe to us, but it's not.

#2 - Home cooks and restaurants have told the growers that they wanted a firmer tomato. They don't want a mushy tomato - they want a firm one. A harder tomato means less juice - and a less appetizing salad veggie. Too bad they didn't ask the consumer.

#3 - Supermarkets want a tomato that looks good. No one wants to buy a damaged or bruised specimen, so the tomato producers have bred a tough skinned tomato so that it looks good on the grocer's shelves.
Terrific... it looks good, it's easy to cut, but it has no taste?!?

I guess I'll stick to organic - or wait until August when everyone who has a garden can't give 'em away fast enough. Too bad I can't control my cravings to coincide with specific seasons!
So then I walked up again later and got a terrific bottle of Chardonnay... now all is right with the world again....


Carol Emma said...

That is just tooooo darn weird!
Not about the tomato (although that too)
But the BLT thing, because I have been craving them too!!
Like out of the blue....can't stand it!
I bought bacon!!! (This happens, like once a year)...but I forgot the tomato!
However, bacon, avacado, cheese is quite satisfying! (well, not to my arteries, but I am loving it)!
Mmmmmm...hungry just thinking about it ;)

HandMade Goods said...

I'm reading "Possible Side Effects" by Augusten Burroughs and he says "I remember when I was a kid, tomatoes were things you sometimes craved. They were almost candybar wrapper red and juicy like a peach and you could eat them all by themselves, with just some salt. Now? They are firm. They have become visual stand-ins for the original. If a slice of tomato arrives on your burger, you slide it off with the limp lettuce leaf. It's moved from actual food to garnish. It makes me sad. Because that's not evolution. It's devolution. It's going backward and paying more for the luxury of reverse."

I can't wait for Farmer's Market season!