Status: 06.12.2023, 05:32 a.m.
By: Ines Alms
The anticipation of a seemingly sun-ripened tomato often ends abruptly at the first bite. If the vegetables lack aroma, the only thing that helps is to reach into the tip box.
Unfortunately, the color of a tomato can't tell you anything about its taste – while a green zebra tomato can be very aromatic, some deep red tomatoes just taste bland. Sniffing it doesn't really help either, because the typical tart, grassy tomato smell is right from the stem and not from the fruit. You can be guided by some good signs when shopping, but in an emergency, you can tickle even more aroma out of a boring tomato with a few tricks.
Heat and home remedies as flavor enhancers for tomatoes
Whether pale red or dark red – the color of the tomatoes says nothing about their taste. © Zoonar/Imago
Especially in winter, things look bleak with tasty tomatoes from the fresh shelf. You can't expect too much from greenhouse-grown fruits, and tomatoes from overseas rarely turn out to be a stroke of luck. The most elegant thing here is to use canned tomatoes for hot dishes, which are usually harvested and preserved in their warm homeland in the summer when they are sun-ripened – and are no less healthy. But if you want tomato-mozzarella or a side dish to your sandwich, just a few tips will help to make not-quite-ripe tomatoes tastier:
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- Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator. The cold is the enemy of the aroma. At room temperature, the fruit ripens a little within a few days.
- Before cooking, dip the tomatoes in hot but not boiling water (about 50 degrees Celsius) for about five minutes and then let them cool back down to room temperature.
- Place the sliced tomato slices on a plate and season with salt. After a few minutes, drain the leaked amniotic fluid and continue to use the tomatoes as desired.
- Ferment the cocktail tomatoes: The fruit remains crunchy, but gets a delicately sour aroma.
What to look out for when shopping
When shopping, you should make sure that the tomatoes have the ripe colour typical of their variety. Make sure the fruit is firm but not hard. The variety plays a less important role than the best time to harvest and proper storage. Not always, but often, organic tomatoes have a higher proportion of dry matter and thus more flavor and sweetness than conventionally grown tomatoes. And if in doubt, don't be afraid to heat the tomatoes – the health value even increases thanks to the increasing plant pigment lycopene.