Heirlooms vs hybrids vs protected genetics

seedcorn

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In looking for some things on the internet, I saw several links to articles stating heirlooms tasted so much better than selected genetic varieties or hybrids. My question, HOW DO THEY KNOW?

I’d love to do a blind taste test where they can't see which variety they are eating to see IF they pick the correct ones. In my meats class, the prof gave all of us 2 samples of beef. Then we marked which we liked the flavor of best (both prepared the same). Most of the students were non dairy back grounds so were prejudiced towards colored breeds-prof used angus and Holstein. 90% of class picked the Holstein.

I get the romance of growing (legally) your own seed, selecting within your genetics, a variety (I’m doing that with okra myself). I’d never make the claim that mine taste better. I do believe that it performs better in the nawth with my soils as I’ve had several popular varieties crash and burn.

Not to start a war just open discussion based on opinions-unless someone can cite where blind taste tests have been done.
 

flowerbug

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since there are thousands of different tomatoes i can't say i've compared the tastes of all of them to each other, especially since Mom insists on growing only beefsteak varieties, i'm going to try to get one plant of some others this year but i don't know if i'll be successful.

tastes different enough that i wouldn't hold it against anyone who says they prefer some other fruit or vegetable over what i may like.

i do know that the beefsteak tomatoes we had last year tasted ok, but they were not as good in flavor as the ones grown the year before (perhaps it was the weather as we had less than a good season for tomatoes), unfortunately i can't remember the exact name of them something like Ultimate Beefsteak whereas the year before it was our usual Balls Beefsteak. we put up chunks of tomatoes from them but have also used them for tomato juice. either way those get used to make all sorts of things during the coming year. we're already almost out. :(

i should also mention that for flavor for fresh eating can be quite different from flavor after being cooked or canned. the sweet 100s we used to grow as cherry tomatoes were really good when eaten fresh, but when i canned some plain as juice the results were pretty bland and i much prefered the beefsteaks instead.
 

Ridgerunner

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I don't know of any blind taste tests on tomatoes, Seed. I've grown both, hybrids and heirlooms. I find that different varieties of tomatoes taste different. It doesn't matter if they are hybrid or heirloom, different heirlooms taste different from each other as much if not more than different hybrids. Practically any of them grown at home will taste better than the tomatoes you buy at the store.

I find the maturity level you eat them has a lot to do with how good they taste. That doesn't necessarily mean vine ripened to me. For different reasons I sometimes pull off tomatoes before they are fully ripe and set them aside to continue ripening. They still taste fabulous. So any true blind taste test would need to take ripeness into account.

My story on ripeness has to do with blackberries. A friend was wanting to get some blackberry starts in the winter when they went dormant and I had a couple of varieties she could choose from. So we took her to the plants in season and my wife picked a blackberry from each variety for her to try. I noticed one of the berries she picked was fully ripe, really juicy. The other was not nearly as ripe. You can guess which variety she chose.

Different people have different tastes. I had a friend that really liked yellow pear tomatoes. I don't care for them, they are too bland, plus they tended to split like crazy. Yet I grew one for him every year because he liked them so much.

The only blind taste test I've ever been involved with was when I was a young single adult. My roommate was a beer snob. He kept bragging about how his more exclusive beers tasted so much better than what most of us were drinking. At the start of a party before anyone had drunk anything he and a couple of others blind-tasted five beers. His exclusive beers were at the bottom of everybody's list. They did not agree on the best but they did agree on the worst. When it was over he accused us of switching beers on him and kept drinking his brands. Your mind and your expectations have a lot to d with how you perceive things to taste. Seed, he was a Yankee, upstate New York. :p

That exhausts my experience with taste tests, none to do with tomatoes. I do find a difference in tomato varieties but, to me that is not dependent on whether they are hybrid or heirloom.
 

ninnymary

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I don’t think there’s a difference in flavor between hybrids and heirlooms. Of course that’s just my opinion based on no facts. 😂

I grow only one hybrid called Tie Dye from Burpees. The flavor and color is as good as my heirlooms. I also don’t mind that I can’t save seeds from it. One package lasts me many seasons.
Mary
 

seedcorn

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In tomatoes, definitely a different taste between varieties, There is no right or wrong answer (IMO) as I visited with another who thought a yellow tomato was the best. I think the reds have more flavor myself. Others the blacks-grew them one year but nobody liked them (could have been color?). I hated the blacks as they diseased up for me.
 

baymule

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I grew Celebrity hybrid tomatoes before I got hooked on heirlooms. My hands down favorite is Cherokee Purple, followed by German Johnson and Mortgage Lifter. I always can tomato sauce and give some to my son. He’s 37, never married, does his own cooking, and he will ask for German Johnson by name. LOL

I like the idea of preserving genetics, plant or animal. If we lose genetics, where will the next hybrid come from?
 

seedcorn

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I never worry about plant genetics being lost as breeder companies keep all lines they come across. Some in storage, some in breeding programs, some elsewhere.

Celebrity never performed for me. Better Boys have the flavor and shape I like plus they handle my situation. I’ve been tempted to try a oxheart variety-just haven’t. Not sure which one to try. Not a fan of all the segments in the beef steaks. Always thought they would be hard to skin to can.
 

baymule

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I tried an ox heart, they took forever to mature and there weren’t many of them. Yeah, I like preserving genetics, but I want good genetics not some ignorant stupid genetics. Sorta like people........
 

AMKuska

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@seedcorn this has already been done. Some people set up in front of a store with two half bananas. One from an organic banana, and one from a conventionally grown banana. Many people said the organic banana was richer and creamier.

It was the same banana.
 

Pulsegleaner

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In many cases, it would be very hard to do the comparison since many thing do not have a hybrid equivalent (try to do the heirloom vs hybrid on a green when ripe tomato)

@seedcorn In theory that is right. In practice, a lot of material gets lost, though neglect, bad luck or random factors.

Technically, when you count random mutations and crosses (both chromosomal and organism) the only way to be sure no gene is lost is to save EVERYTHING (that's actually why I have so much guilt when it comes to actually eating anything I grow, I always wonder "could this one I am eating be the holder of some new mutation that could save the world or even just be an improvement?)
And even THEN not every gene mix will come up. Or why I keep waiting for someone to figure out how to assemble working DNA from scratch (i.e. using base pairs one by one rather than taking a big chunk of DNA and splicing in little chunks). With that, a complete chromosomal map and a really really good computer modeling system you might be able to take an organism and "ring the changes" in virtual reality.
 
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