I have noticed stores selling tomatoes with the stems left on. Usually 3-4 tomatoes per stem.

Is this just a new marketing gimmick? Or do tomatoes taste or store better with the stem left on?

We grow our own tomatoes, but I am wondering if I should copy this technique with the tomatoes we don't can.

  • 2
    I'm pretty certain it's not the reason behind the practice, but Heston Blumenthal has, in the past, recommended simmering the section of vine in the source (fishing it out before serving) for a bit of extra flavour and, ime, it does often improve the dish. This would obviously be impossible if no vine is supplied
    – Tristan
    Jan 15 at 11:03
  • 3
    I think it really depends on the country and veggie culture and quality that country has! By "new marketing", I've seen tomatoes in stems since I can remember!
    – M.K
    Jan 15 at 13:57

It's supposed to be proof that the tomatoes were "vine ripened", instead of being picked green, but the definition is such that there only has to be some sign of color change when they're picked to be sold as "vine ripened", so they're generally still picked mostly green.

So yeah, pretty much a marketing gimmick, although not all that new. (it's probably been around for at least 5 years near me). If you want good tomatoes, you typically need to grow the yourself or go to a farmer's market. (or have a step father that grows way more tomatoes than he can deal with)

It's possible that leaving the vine attached might help protect them from moisture loss, but you can also just store the tomatoes upside down.

  • 1
    It also helps to allow buyers visually spot the different varieties. Typically these tomatoes are a premium variety, sold at premium prices.
    – MSalters
    Jan 15 at 8:46
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    Cinderella had a stepmother and stepsisters...which gave her the pumpkin that was turned into a carriage. So stepmothers are for pumpkin gardens and stepfathers are for tomato gardens. Noted :-) Hope to find some freelance stepfathers.
    – Julia
    Jan 15 at 9:48
  • 4
    It also helps increasing the price if you pay by weight since you now also paid for the weight of the stem which the farmer can't sell. Might not be much, but a few percent each sale adds up. Jan 15 at 12:59
  • @Julia : There actually was a point just after he retired when he was setting up and maintaining other people's gardens, but for the past few years he's mostly just helping with a youth gardening project at his church : bayweekly.com/operation-spudnik
    – Joe
    Jan 15 at 13:44
  • The stem also has flavor which can be simmered (and eventually removed) from soups, sauces, etc.
    – beausmith
    Jan 19 at 21:22

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