Depending on the variety, about 1 cup of tomatoes is an excellent source of:
- Vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps promote healthy eyes.
- Vitamin C, known to help keep gums healthy, repair body tissue and heal wounds.
- and a good source of Potassium, which plays a role in proper fluid balance in the body.
Tomato Harvest: Tomatoes taste best when naturally ripened slowly on the plant in the sun. Speed ripening by placing under-ripe tomatoes in a closed brown paper bag for a day or two.
Look for tomatoes with a wonderful, sweet aroma and fresh leafy, green tops.
Storage: Store at room temperature, not in the refrigerator. Once temperatures go below 50ºF, the quality of tomatoes deteriorates – the pulp gets mushy and flavor is lost.
Peeling: Heat a large saucepan of water to boiling. Carefully place tomatoes in boiling water for 15 to 20 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon or tongs to cold water, then peel skins from tomatoes.
Coring: Cut a small circle around the stem end with a small knife and remove core.
Seeding: Cut tomato crosswise in half and gently squeeze or spoon seeds into a bowl. (though seeding may be beneficial to a recipe, the seeds contain the highest concentration of vitamin C and much of the flavor).
Freezing Peel, seed and chop fresh tomatoes; do not drain. Place in plastic containers or plastic freezer bags, and freeze up to three months. Use in recipes for canned tomatoes.
Roasting: Insert a long-handled fork into tomato. Hold over a gas or charcoal grill, turning tomato until it is charred on all sides. Let tomato cool enough to handle, then remove skin.
Large, irregularly shaped tomatoes, beefsteaks work well for slicing, and eating raw or cooked.
Cherokee Purple: Dusty pink with a milk chocolate tint and a rich, smoky flavor, is said to be named after the Cherokee Indians, who originally grew them.
Pink Brandywine: A favorite for salads, this rich, juicy tomato with a slightly spicy flavor and firm flesh was developed by Amish farmers in the 19th century.
Big Rainbow: Very popular, this tomato is a vibrant yellow with red stripes and has a sweet flavor.
Also called plum, paste or Italian tomatoes, Romas have an elongated shape and are great for making sauce and paste. They have fewer seeds and less water than other tomatoes.
Amish Paste: An American heirloom, oblong-shaped tomato with a sweet flavor, originally grown in Wisconsin.
A red, chili-shaped tomato with a sweet-tangy flavor.
Traditional Roma: The classic sauce tomato, Roma is meaty, very rich in flavor and easy to peel.
Medium Size Tomatoes
Medium-size tomatoes that usually grow to about the size of a tennis ball, these are perfect for slicing and eating as is.
Rutgers: Perfect for slicing or canning, Rutgers is full of traditional heritage flavor.
Green Zebra:Small with green-and white-striped skin, green flesh and an aromatic, acidic flavor.
Fourth of July: A newer hybrid, usually the first to ripen in the garden.
Cherry tomatoes are small and round (about 1 inch), reminiscent of large cherries. They are wonderful tossed in salads or stir-fries, used as garnishes or as a snack.
Currant: Tiny pea-sized tomatoes with a sweet, fruity flavor, they come in red and yellow varieties.
Supersweet 100: A hybrid, this salad tomato has a sweet, rich and well-balanced flavor.
Yellow Pear: Small pear-shaped tomatoes with a mild, sweet flavor, also available in a red variety; great for snacking.
Also called heritage tomatoes, these non-hybrid varieties of tomato can be found in a wide assortment of colors, shapes, flavors and sizes. Heirloom tomatoes have become increasingly popular and more readily available in recent years and can be very flavorful.
Add Tomatoes to Your Table
- Dip vegetables and chips into salsa made from fresh chopped tomatoes, herbs and seasonings.
- Add sliced tomatoes to grilled sandwiches.
- Make a salad of tomato, cucumber, zucchini and corn-drizzle with your favorite dressing.
- Top pasta with chopped tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil and cracked pepper.
- Stuff a tomato with tuna or chicken salad.
- Add cherry or grape tomatoes to your snacks menu.