In The Best Possible Taste – Tomato Taste That Is!

This is a rather subjective area – what tastes good to one person, may taste average to another.

Brandywine and Cheese

Perhaps we each have an expectation of what a tomato should taste like.

Sungold, for example, is a very sweet tomato but doesn’t have the traditional balance of sugar and acid that many consider “ideal”.

Some of the larger tomatoes such as Brandywine and Costoluto have a very fine taste – sweet with a little acid, but require a lot of sun to grow and reach their potential.

Most varieties will have an improved and sweeter taste if grown under a lot of sun and fed and watered correctly.

At the other end of the scale is the tomato with more acid than sugar content – a bit like the traditional supermarket tomato…as hard as nails and as tasty as a box of spanners!

Having said that, there is a much wider choice of tomato varieties in the supermarket these days, with a price to match. However, they’ll never taste as good as our home-grown ones because as soon as they are picked, the taste and freshness begin to fade.

Often, tomatoes with high acid content are either grown for a long shelf life or grown under difficult conditions in the garden and have deficiencies of one kind or another.

Causes of Poor Tomato Taste
Over-watering is one of the causes of watery taste. Basically, soil nutrients are over-diluted and plants are unable to absorb enough food. This also applies to giving too much water between feedings.

Tomato plants don’t need direct sunlight every hour of the day (or even direct sunlight six hours each day!) but they do need enough sunlight to ripen and a bit more to reach their full taste. How much is that? it depends on the variety.

Under-feeding is sometimes the cause of tasteless, bland tomatoes – grown in soil that has seen better days. Sometimes over-watering is the result of under-nourished plants (see point one).

Other causes include,

  • High soil pH which blocks the uptake of nutrients.
  • Diseases that weaken a plant’s growth.

There is one thing that affects tomato taste that has nothing to do with they way they are grown – and that is keeping them in the fridge.

Tomatoes are best kept at room temperature if you want to keep them at their best. If they would keep longer in the fridge, supermarkets would sell them from the fridge!

3 Responses

  1. Linda Twidle
    | Reply

    Hi there. I really enjoy browsing through the newsletter and find it very helpful. Thought I would let you know how I recycle old and tatty toms. My ducks have their paddock next to the greenhouse and have got used to me throwing them over. As soon as I exit the greenhouse with tomatoes they all come running. They absolutely adore them. Early last summer I noticed some seedling sprouting on the manure heap and it soon became obvious that they were tomato plants. After a bit of a think it suddenly dawned on me that they were ‘presents’ from the girls. I grew some on successfully in the greenhouse and despite not knowing what type they were they tasted lovely. I think this is the ultimate in recycling. Cheers Linda

    • Mark
      | Reply

      “Presents from the girls”…..Like it :o)

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Linda,
      Thank you for your very interesting and amusing comment – your ducks obviously know a thing or two about tomatoes!

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