DailyDirt: Better Tasting Fruits And Vegetables
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
If fruits and vegetables tasted even better, maybe people would include more in their diet. Part of what researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are trying to do is to improve the taste and nutritional profile of specialty crops like fruits and vegetables, in the hope that Americans will adopt a healthier diet. For generations, humans have been inadvertently breeding the nutrients out of fruits and vegetables, by selecting varieties that are more palatable (i.e., higher in sugar and starch). Then, somewhere along the way, appearance became important, and farmers began breeding aesthetically pleasing varieties, often at the expense of taste. So, now we’re stuck with some pretty bland products. Here are some more tasty links.
- For the past 70 years or so, people have been breeding tomatoes for a uniform red color, but in the process, a gene that increases sugar content in tomatoes was inactivated. The gene, SlGLK2, increases the formation of chloroplasts, which are responsible for producing sugars through photosynthesis. Researchers have shown that by re-inserting an intact copy of the gene into tomatoes, they could increase the amount of glucose and fructose by up to 40%, while still retaining the uniform color ripening trait. Too bad they weren’t actually able to taste them (federal regulations prohibit sampling experimental crops). [url]
- Researchers have found that today’s Fuji apples are mealier, less flavorful, and more susceptible to disease than they were in the 1970s. The culprit: climate change. Studies in controlled temperature environments have shown that higher temperatures have been linked to a decrease in taste and texture in apples. Who knows what other crops might also have been changed due to global warming? [url]
- University of Florida researchers have discovered that they can improve the taste of fruits by exposing them to far-red light. They were able to use specific wavelengths of light to manipulate the production of volatile compounds that control aroma and taste in fruits like tomatoes, strawberries, and blueberries. Imagine your produce tasting even better after being stored in your far-red-light-equipped refrigerator! [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.
Filed Under: apples, breeding, climate change, crops, diet, farming, food, fruits, gmo, taste, tomato, vegetables
Comments on “DailyDirt: Better Tasting Fruits And Vegetables”
Fruits and vegetables always taste better when you grow them yourself. We grew tomatoes, peas, beans, strawberries and more this year and they were much more tasty than anything you buy in a supermarket. Anyone who has the time should do this as it will give them a whole new appreciation for fruit and vegetables.
Re: Heirloom Varieties
Re: Re: Heirloom Varieties
Agreed, home grown is way better – for many reasons.
The store bought product is picked before it is ripe and is most likely subjected to much more *icide.
sure lets mess with the food supply even more so they can charge more for it and sue anyone who uses the seeds for gardening .. hello monsanto ..
If it were up to the food industry, private residential gardens would be illegal. There are some municipalities that use zoning to attempt this, a recent case the homeowner won.
If a private party were inclined to save seeds for private reuse, I doubt there is anything the robber barons could do about it – but they sure would try.
I plant heirloom varieties whenever I can. My grandmother was an avid gardener and always had fresh veggies in the summer. I’ve grown summer squash, zucchini, butternut, purple cherokee tomatoes (which are excellent), grape tomatoes and herbs. I’ve had rotten luck with carrots, though.
The Fuji apples may be mushy, but those harvested in Michigan were OUTSTANDING. The trees, scorched from last summer’s drought, tried to make up for it by giving us the sweetest, juciest apples ever. The Gala are awesome…I put up more than 17 pints of homemade apple butter.
I have a cunning plan
Researchers have shown that by re-inserting an intact copy of the [SIGLK2] gene into tomatoes, they could increase the amount of glucose and fructose by up to 40%, while still retaining the uniform color ripening trait. Too bad they weren’t actually able to taste them (federal regulations prohibit sampling experimental crops).
Okay, so why not announce the research complete so that these fantastically delicious tomatoes can be sold and we can all try them? Oh, wait. No, bad idea. I just received a ‘friendly’ letter from Monsanto, warning me of the consequences of their IP being infringed as a result of anyone doing that.
Re: I have a cunning plan
Um, ‘warning’ should read ‘gently reminding’. Sorry.
(Is that okay, Mr. Monsanto?)
Someday food that is not engineered may taste funny LoL
As a kid I remember beef tasting much better than today. This can be attributed somewhat to aging of the taste buds but it probably has more to do with grass feed vs feed lot feed beef.