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Old June 12, 2007   #1
Vince
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Default What causes Mealy tomatoes?

I have picked some excellent fruit off of most plants and then I will get one or several that look great on the outside and still have a nice flavor but the texture is grainy or mealy. I think since good ones came off the same plants it must be an environmental factor and not genetic. Can anyone shed some light on why tomatoes sometimes develope mealinness?

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Old June 12, 2007   #2
Suze
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Originally Posted by Vince_chemist View Post
I think since good ones came off the same plants it must be an environmental factor and not genetic
Correct; it can be environmental. In general, I think it's best not to base my overall impressions on a variety from the first fruit or two.

An excessive amount of rain, lack of sun and/or warmth can negatively impact flavor.

Soil drainage/tilth is also an important factor in this. All other things being equal, a soil with good to excellent drainage with plenty of organic matter added (or adequate 'chemical' fertilizers/trace elements) will usually give you better tasting tomatoes than a poorly draining, lean soil.
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Old June 12, 2007   #3
michael johnson
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Mealy eating of tomatoes, seems to be usually caused by dry conditions and incorrect watering-and possibly too much nitrogen in the soil which directs the growth more at the leaves and stem rather than the fruit just at the critical point, a larger amount of potash and lots of water usually does the trick, high heat will also make some varieties mealy if in combination with the other mentioned elements.

One particular bad variety for this is german red strawberry, as is also stump of the world.
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Old June 12, 2007   #4
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I am a little cofused by Suze and Michaels posts. Suze, you think wet conditions causes mealieness, and Michael thinks dry conditions cause it? Well, are both of you correct, or am I missunderstanding things? If anything my tomatoes are under watered this year, but not to the point of wilting leaves. I don't fertilize more than once at first blossum/fuitset. One other point I would like to mention is that I think taste and texture are two entirely different things. As I mentioned I have had very flavorful tomatoes with a mealy texture, which makes them unpalateable. Cheers.

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Old June 12, 2007   #5
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I am a little cofused by Suze and Michaels posts. Suze, you think wet conditions causes mealieness, and Michael thinks dry conditions cause it?
Yes, I think excessively wet conditions (especially after the fruit has already started to ripen) can make a tomato mealy. That is why I like to pick before I water, or before a rain if I can.

Also, some folks actually leave tomatoes on the vine too long, almost to the point that they are overripe. At what stage of ripeness do you pick?

Can't say I've had the experience of high heat making tomatoes mealy, although it can affect flavor and size. Most often, in my growing conditions, I see mealiness early on in the harvest, or later on for a fall crop.

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One other point I would like to mention is that I think taste and texture are two entirely different things.
Agreed. I was thinking 'texture' and typed 'flavor' instead.
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Old June 12, 2007   #6
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My experience re:mealy tomatoes is the same as Suze's.

Cold and wet = mealy, therefore my earliest and especially my latest fruits are mealy. Last year they ALL were, all season long, because it was cold and wet all the time.
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Old June 12, 2007   #7
harleysilo
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Of the three tomatoes we've eaten this season, they all have had a little mealiness around the core. My wife is telling me I'm picking them too early, I am glad to know it can be caused by several different factors.....
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Old June 12, 2007   #8
michael johnson
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I base my findings on certain varieties that have been greenhouse grown, which all turn out dry and mealy (horrible spitters) ugh', and as its always a lot warmer in a greenhouse and the tomatoes are usually watered more frequently than those outside.

Tomatoes that always go mealy in a greenhouse or (usually), depending on the weather and climate conditions, are:-

German red strawberry.
Orange strawberry.
Stump of the world,
and several others.
But the same tomatoes grown outside usually go juicy and sweet under cooler airy conditions but take longer to mature (perhaps a couple or three weeks), if rushed to maturity in the greenhouse you get larger mealy yucky tomatoes in those varieties mentioned,but the majority of other tomato varieties are not affected by this and remain big and juicy and normal.
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Old June 15, 2007   #9
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Seems to me the late season tomatoes, which take forever to ripen, stand the biggest chance of being mealy. I find texture to often be a problem with tomatoes picked early (still some green) and allowed to ripen indoors, as well.
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Old August 31, 2012   #10
ensete
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I find if you puree the mealy but flavorful tomatoes in a food processor, the texture issue disappears. so you can make gazpacho, or a raw tomato sauce to go over pasta. I even use a porcelain ginger grater bowl for small quantities.
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Old September 3, 2012   #11
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"Container's Choice" was the mealiest tomato I've ever tasted. It was awful.
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