Tuesday, 24 November 2009

New 'Sugardrop' tomato hits shelves


A revolutionary new tomato that tastes as sweet as a peach hits the shelves of Tesco supermarket today in a push to encourage children eat more healthily.
The Sugardrop is the sweetest tomato ever created and is a natural hybrid of two different varieties of the fruit. And because of its unusual taste it is expected to appeal to people who find the normal versions too sharp. And because of the highly competitive nature of the food world, the creators are not even revealing which two varieties were crossed to create the fruit.
They fear that because of the potential of the Sugardrop other rival growers will try and copy it to muscle in on to the £520million UK market. They wanted to find varieties that they could cross pollinate to find a tomato with higher than normal sugar levels. The result is the Sugardrop, which is the sweetest tomato there has ever been and now this week UK shoppers will be the first to try it.'
The Sugardrop growers have managed to achieve sugar levels - or the technical term of brix levels - of nine to 13 brix. A standard peach has a nine brix level so each of the new tomatoes are guaranteed to be at least as sweet as the fruit. They are being sold as part of Tesco's Finest food range and will cost £1.50 for a 280g punnet.
Staying with tomatoes, a little know secret is how to harvest tomato seeds. Tomato seeds are enclosed in a gel sac; to remove the sac and to help destroy seed-borne diseases, put them through a fermentation process:
1. Wash the fruit, then cut it in half across the middle (not the stem end). Gently squeeze seeds and juice into a labeled glass or plastic container. Fill containers about half full, then set them out of direct sun in an area where you won't be bothered by the ripening odor or fruit flies.
2. Allow the seed mixture to sit until the surface is partially covered with whitish mold (in three to five days). In warm climates, you may need to add a little water midway through the process to keep the seeds afloat. Scrape off the white mold with a spoon, being careful not to remove seeds.
3. Fill the container with water, then stir; the good seeds will sink to the bottom.
4. Pour off and discard floating seeds and pulp. Repeat until the good seeds are clean. Pour the cleaned seeds into a fine strainer; rinse and drain.
5. Sprinkle seeds onto a plate and allow them to dry for one to three days, depending on the weather. Keep them out of direct sun. To make sure they dry thoroughly and don't stick together, stir twice a day. Store dried seeds in a cool, dry, dark place in individually labeled airtight containers such as glass canning or baby food jars until planting time next spring.

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