Tomatoes – those delicious, juicy fruits often mistaken for vegetables because of their extremely subtlety sweet taste. Used in a variety of dishes from sauce to salsa, eaten raw, added to salads or garnish on your hamburger – it’s good to know what are the best tomatoes to buy or grow, what to look for and how to keep them fresh for longer.
The best you can buy – what to look for:
If you’ve ever eaten an unripened or overly ripened tomato, you know their taste changes dramatically when they aren’t those juicy, flavorful fruits we know and love.
Tomatoes with thin walls and lots of jelly that surround the seeds make the best, most flavorful tomatoes. The thinner the walls the more room for the jelly – if you can help it, don’t remove the seeds, the seeds help improve flavor.
- Choose locally grown tomatoes – the less distance a tomato travels the riper it can be when it is picked. Commercially grown tomatoes often yield high production and can result in tomatoes with less sugars and other flavor compounds. Plus the engineering of these tomatoes to preserve them longer especially for transportation often have thicker walls and less of that good, tasty jelly.
- Try an Heirloom – Heirloom tomatoes (often grown locally) come from naturally pollinated plants and seeds that have been growing for decades and haven’t been hybridized
- Weird looking tomatoes – oddly shaped tomatoes, even those with a few breaks or cracks in the skin are fine to eat – they don’t have to be perfectly symmetrical to be just as delicious – just watch out for tomatoes that are overly soft or leaking juice
How to keep your tomatoes fresh:
- Don’t refrigerate
- Freeze instead of canning if you have a surplus of tomatoes for the off-season. Core them and freeze them in storage bags.
- Store tomatoes stem end down, it prevents the escaping of moisture and bacteria from entering
- Bag them with a banana or an apple if the tomato is hard and not ripened, both fruits emit a natural gas called ethylene that hastens ripening