The main tomato varieties are: gourmet (or ‘common’), which are round and pink to bright red in colour; sweet truss tomatoes, still attached to their vines; small red or yellow cherry and grape tomatoes; or elongated and firm red or yellow Roma tomatoes.
Choose brightly coloured tomatoes with no bruises or soft spots. For red tomatoes, choose bright red to use immediately or paler ones to ripen for future use.
Store at room temperature for 2–3 days until slightly soft and bright red. To keep longer, refrigerate for up to a week. Refrigerate ripened cherry and grape tomatoes in their containers and use as soon as possible.
Tomatoes can be eaten raw or cooked with almost any dish. Simply wash and cut off stems before eating. To peel, place in boiling water for 2 minutes until skin splits, or peel from stem down.
4 quick ways with tomatoes
To make a simple tomato relish, pan-fry chopped onion, garlic, chilli and mustard seeds on low heat until soft. Add chopped tomatoes, brown sugar and red wine vinegar. Simmer, stirring until mixture thickens. Refrigerate and use in sandwiches or serve with meat.
Bruschetta makes a great snack. Combine chopped fresh tomato, garlic, basil leaves and olive oil. Grill crusty Italian or French bread, rub sides with garlic, top with tomato mixture and drizzle with olive oil.
Before baking your next pizza, for a fresher, healthier meal simply add tomato slices or halved cherry or grape tomatoes before topping with cheese.
Stuff tomatoes for an impressive dish. Cut off 8 tomato tops, set aside. Scoop out flesh; combine with 1 cup cooked rice or couscous, 75g crumbled feta, 4 chopped shallots and 2 teaspoons of parsley and mint. Fill tomatoes with mixture, replace tops and bake at 180ºC for 15–20 minutes or until tender. Enjoy!
Did you know? Using whole tomatoes in cooking can increase a dish’s antioxidant content by up to 53 per cent. Try using the skin and seeds, not just the flesh, in your next tomato dish. Your body will thank you one day!