Summer Produce Guide: Tomatoes
Tips for buying, storing, and cooking tomatoes, plus our favorite tomato recipes.
A fruit or a vegetable? In 1893 the U.S. Supreme Court put an end to the debate, ruling the tomato would be classified as a vegetable, because it was most frequently served in soup or with the main course of a meal. Joseph Campbell came up with his famous recipe just four years later. Now considered a backbone of Italian cuisine, this member of the nightshade family actually originated in Peru and traveled to Europe with Spanish explorers. Today, there are thousands of known tomato varieties. The large, round Jersey or Beefsteak are excellent in hearty pasta dishes; small, pear-shaped plum tomatoes produce an excellent sauce, and sweet small cherry tomatoes add brightness to salads. The true glory of this vegetable shines through when enjoyed alone with just a sprinkle of sea salt, or halved and roasted as a simple side.
HOW TO BUY
Look for firm, plump tomatoes with an aromatic earthy fragrance and a rich red color. Avoid overripe ones with blemishes, soft spots, or growth cracks.
HOW TO STORE
Ripe tomatoes will keep for about a week if stored upside down at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Never refrigerate; this will deaden the flavor and give the tomato a mealy texture.
HOW TO PREPARE
Gently wash under cold running water to remove any dirt or grit. To learn how to peel a whole tomato, refer to our video below.