Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture recently received a special batch of tomatoes by a Mrs. Meulenbeld. These tomatoes, however, were not meant to be sampled. They were bottled in 1942. After 70 years in dark storage, both the colour and the shape of the tomatoes are still surprisingly fresh.

In the spring of 1942, Mrs. Meulenbeld lived with her husband and three children in Hengelo. They had a south-facing garden where they grew tomatoes and other vegetables. There wasn’t much to eat during the war, so every bit of land was utilized. That summer, however, was so warm that part of the abundant harvest could be bottled.

Until 1970, one bottle of tomatoes stood in the basement at the Spreeuwenstraat in Hengelo. Then the bottle was moved to Borne and finally to Enschede. Because the pot was literally kept in the dark, the tomatoes retained much of their original colour and shape. Mrs. Meulenbeld is now 102 years old. She is thrilled that her tomatoes will be put on display after 70 years.

The bottle is now in a display case at the taste lab in Bleiswijk, in memory of the taste of the summer 1942, and as a symbol of the campaign against food waste.

Source: WageningenUR