SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Tomatoes taste fine most everywhere in America this time of year. But in much of the country for much of the year, tomatoes taste more like nothing. That's because tomatoes that wind up in supermarkets are picked while they're still green and stored in the cold for shipping. They turn red after a while, like a tomato, but they still taste more like Bozo's nose because the low temperatures in which they're kept during shipping degrade their taste. This week, Dr. Jinhe Bai told a meeting of the American Chemical Society that he's found that if the tomatoes are given what amounts to a hot bath while still green before they're chilled, they'll keep more of the 13 aroma components, as they're called, that gives them their flavor. That raises the possibility that tomatoes could taste like tomatoes year-round. If hot baths work, think what shiatsu massage could do for tomatoes.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.