Tomato - Tomahto

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Tomato lovers everywhere are asking the question; "Why do tomatoes, especially those at the grocery store, have so little flavor?"

Many people can remember the days when tomatoes were bursting with flavor.

So what happened?

It turns out; tomatoes were bred to include a gene mutation, and this mutation creates very red, but very tasteless tomatoes.

Researchers discovered that the gene inactivated by the mutation was primarily responsible for their sugar content and aroma. This same gene gave them a ring of green, yellow, or white color around the stem, and shoppers didn't care for this. They wanted a uniformly red tomato. Because of this, genetic engineers turned off the gene to create picture-perfect tomatoes. When the gene was turned back on, the tomatoes once again sported the colored ring around the stem. They also contained 20 percent more sugar and 20 - 30 percent more carotenoids. But because they were "imperfect looking" the gene was turned off again. That's what we call GMO's.

Although the above is just a summary of the research, it does show a hidden cost associated with having scientists play with our food.

Heirloom tomatoes that are often misshapen, multicolored "love apples" have a richer, sweeter flavor than the 'regular' tomatoes. And while you may not be able to get the sweeter tomatoes mentioned above, when you buy organic heirloom tomatoes, you are getting the next best thing.