We eat tomato almost on a daily basis. They can be used is salads and sandwiches, and cooked with many meals. In-season fresh tomatoes have particular character and flavour, but there are many varieties in the markets and some of which are more suitable for certain recipes.
Although tomatoes are available all year round, nothing compares to in-season tomatoes regarding the taste, quality and benefits when they are picked at the height of summer.
However, when you are shopping out-season, in Winter for example, you will find in the super-market imported varieties of tomato. Try Roma tomato or small cluster tomatoes knows as “grape” or “cherry” and used usually in green salads. Those two types have better taste and flavour out season.
Generally, here are some important notes to help you choose tomatoes and how to perfectly use them:
•Pick the one that looks almost like a round regularly-shaped ball which is firm (not a stone-frim of course!) with a deep red colour. Avoid the lightly coloured, like green, yellow or pale tomatoes (purple ones) and choose the one with the perfect shape and no flaws.
•Tomatoes grown in natural farms may develop some blemishes or marks on their skin because of the natural climatic conditions. However, these small flaws don’t usually have any effect on their quality, taste and flavour.
•Sniff all your tomatoes; they should have dewy, earthy smell.
•Choose different varieties of tomato according to your need and use. For example, the firm and consistent are for salads and sandwiches; the deeper red, ripe and more tender are for cooking, juices, salads and curries etc.
•Preserve tomato in a pierced paper bag and put it in the fridge to keep its quality for longer and last for about a week.
•Fresh tomatoes keep their good condition in room temperature up to three days. They also become ripe and more reddish if they were a bit green before.
•To cut tomato without crushing it, use a fine serrated knife (saw-like). To make round, thin and consistent slices of tomato, use a very sharp-edged knife (a blade).
•When you want to make sauce, you should use a grater with big holes. Grate the red, ripe tomato with its skin on until you have small pieces. Then squeeze it with the skin because the good elements of the tomato are in the meat as well as in the skin. You can then filter out the juice and discard the remaining skins.
Here’s Chicken Rigatoni Pasta recipe. Use cherry tomato when you cook it!