Tomayto, tomahto – we’ve long agreed to disagree on pronunciation, but the debate on where to store them is just heating up. Yesterday, new guidelines on food labelling aimed at reducing waste were published in the UK. The most eye-catching recommendation was that consumers should be advised to keep fruit and vegetables refrigerated below 5°C. Potatoes, onions, pineapples and bananas are exceptions to the rule – but not tomatoes.
Food writer Jay Rayner called the advice “bizarre” on Twitter. “Every minute a tomato spends in a fridge it dies a little,” one of his followers replied.
There is some truth in that. Last year, a study found that chilling reduces the activity of hundreds of tomato genes, some of which produce enzymes that contribute to flavour. These enzymes don’t recover when tomatoes return to room temperature, and taste tests found that people