Nothing tastes better than a fresh tomato right from the garden or farmer’s market – and now’s the perfect time of year to indulge. Whether it’s a fresh tomato salad or a toasted tomato sandwich almost nothing says ‘summer’ like tomatoes.
Types of Tomatoes:
The varieties of tomatoes are almost endless, available in different shapes, sizes, and colours. Beefsteak tomatoes are substantial in size and perfect for frying and baking. Green tomatoes are perfect for salsas, relishes, and broiling. Smaller varieties include cherry, grape, vine-ripened, and yellow pear. Vine-ripened tomatoes, as their name suggests, have ripened on the vine. If you see tomatoes labeled “heirloom,” it generally means the variety is very old, the seeds are often 50+ years old, if you can believe it! They have been protected and kept in their original state in a particular region.
How to Pick Tomatoes:
Pick tomatoes that are bright in colour and smooth with a tight skin. They should be firm, but not hard and heavy for their size. They should be fragrant and free of blemishes.
How to Store Tomatoes:
To keep the wonderful flavour of your ripe tomatoes, store them at room temperature, not in the refrigerator. If you have to store in the fridge, allow them to come to room temperature before serving to maximize flavour. To ripen, place them in a covered bowl or brown paper bag with an apple and store at room temperature. In a day or two they’ll be ready to eat.
How to Prepare Tomatoes:
Preparing tomatoes is a snap. If you’re slicing for a sandwich or salad, a sharp knife is essential. If you don’t have a sharp knife, a serrated knife is your best bet – especially if you want to slice thinly for a sandwich. There are many ways to prepare tomatoes such as fried (a great addition to a full breakfast), broiled, baked, grilled, stewed, preserved, or in a salsa.
How To Peel Tomatoes:
If you need to remove the skin (for a pasta sauce), mark an “x” on the bottom of the tomato with a knife and pop them in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds, then quickly remove and plunge into a bowl of cold water. The skins will easily peel away.
Kary’s Tomato Tips:
- Although delicate, they have a tough skin. If you don’t have a sharp knife, use a bread knife (serrated knife) to slice tomatoes.
- Season diced tomatoes with salt to enhance the flavour before adding them to a salad.
- Add to a salad just before serving so that their juices don’t dilute the dressing.
- Tomatoes carry lycopene, an antioxidant that may help prevent heart disease and some cancers. The lycopene in tomatoes are better absorbed into the body when consumed with a small about of fat. Try eating with sliced avocado or olive oil.
- Tomatoes carry a lot of juice, which can cause a soggy sandwich – especially if you don’t eat it right away. To prevent this, butter your bread well – edge to edge. The butter will act as a raincoat, protecting your bread.
- Just like sweet peppers, tomatoes are delicious stuffed. To stuff, slice off the top and gently scoop out the flesh and seeds with a spoon.
What Do Tomatoes Go Well With?
Tomatoes go well with: arugula, avocado, basil, bay leaf, sweet bell peppers, bread crumbs, capers, cheese, chicken, chickpeas, cilantro, cucumbers, eggs, fennel, garlic, lemon, lime, olive oil, onions, olives, parsley, pepper, salt, thyme, vinegar.
+ avocado + red onion + pepper
+ basil + goat cheese
+ oregano + olive oil
+ mozzarella + basil