Do LSL and firmness reduce tomato flavor?
Even though tomato flavor is a combination of taste and aroma, derived from over 400 volatile compounds, we usually describe it as the balance between the fruit’s sweetness and sourness. When tomato fruits ripen, at about the time they turn from pink to red, sourness is at its maximum.
Then, sourness starts to decrease and sweetness increases due to sugar accumulation. This process will continue as long as the fruit is on the plant. When harvested, the fruit will continue to accumulate sugars, but at a much lower rate. Here is the dilemma – if we let the fruit stay on the plant, we can achieve higher sugar content, however, we decrease its firmness (since mature fruits loose firmness over time). If we pick the fruit at an early stage, we have better firmness but lower sugar content.
On top of all that, LSL genes add sourness to the fruit and reduce the rate of sugar accumulation, so LSL varieties are usually less tasty, but with much better shelf life. If you keep your LSL tomatoes on the plant till they are fully red, you let then accumulate more sugar and can improve your sweetness/sourness ratio, thus producing a more tasty fruit.
Isn’t life complicated? Low taste in LSL tomatoes is not a given.
Once you decide what is more important, LSL or taste, you can achieve very tasty LSL tomatoes.