Tomato Juice With UF/IFAS-Bred Garden Gem Pleases Palates (South Dade News Leader)

Tomato Juice With UF/IFAS-Bred Garden Gem Pleases Palates

Florida-grown tomatoes – particularly the UF/IFAS-bred Garden Gem – pack a tasty punch for tomato juice, new University of Florida research shows.

By and large, the biggest market for Florida tomatoes remains food services. They’re not generally harvested for processed products, such as juice, paste and more. But they’re still fresh, whole tomatoes.

For years, researchers have toiled to help breeders develop the genetic traits to give UF/IFAS-bred tomatoes more flavor.

Now, for a newly published study, scientists used six UF/IFAS varieties to process into six different tomato juices. In three testing panels comprising a total of 255 consumers, researchers asked the testers at the UF Sensory Lab how they tasted and smelled. The verdict: two “thumbs-up.” While other varieties fared well in the tests, panelists consistently rated juice made from the Garden Gem significantly higher for aroma, flavor and texture.

“I think this study shows that Florida tomatoes are viable for making processed tomato products,” said Paul Sarnoski, a UF/IFAS associate professor of food science and human nutrition. “Our juice exhibited better flavor – with more fresh and fruity attributes closer to that of a fresh-picked tomato.”

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