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Know Your Tomatoes

Whether they're from your own garden, purchased at the grocery store, or picked from a farmers' market stall, tomatoes are summer's most beloved vegetable fruit. When they are in season, nothing beats enjoying the simple tomato in all its fleshy, red, ripe glory. When choosing tomatoes look for locally grown, fragrant, heavy, tomatoes with skin that yields slightly to pressure. Bright colored ones are best flavored. It's best to store tomatoes at room temperature rather than in the fridge because the harsh coldness will affect the taste of the fruit. When using a recipe that calls for a certain type of tomato refer to this helpful glossary.


Beefsteak: The biggest of the tomato family with a meaty texture - good for salads, grilling, and burgers.



Plum: Also known as Roma tomatoes, these babies are oval shaped, good for cooking, and used frequently in both Italian and Mexican cooking.



Cherry: Small, round like a cherry, and bite sized, these are perfect for salads, roasting, and tossed with pastas.



Salad: Also known as vine or round tomatoes, these are excellent for eating raw in salads or sliced and used in quiches or gratins.



Grape: Like the cherry tomato, these are small, oval shaped tomatoes that are super sweet and kid friendly. Use in salads or for snacks.



Green: A tart, yet ripe variety perfect for frying or for adding color to a tomato salad.



Heirloom: A variety that has been grown for over 100 years with the seeds being passed down from generation to generation. There are many different heirloom varieties that come in many different shapes and sizes.

Know another type of tomato? Please fill us in below!

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courtney422 courtney422 9 years
I loooove tomatoes! Roma tomatoes are my favorite.
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 9 years
grape & cherry tomatoes rock my world!!!!!! I eat 2 cups a day! haha!
bereagirl bereagirl 10 years
I love tomatoes. I recently bought black cherry tomatoes. They are so sweet! They cost a fortune at the farmer's market, but well worth it.
WildHeavenFarm WildHeavenFarm 10 years
Tomatoes are botanically a fruit and legally a vegetable (for tariffs, etc).
earthylovingirl earthylovingirl 10 years
i love tomatoes...
beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
like KerryG, i dislike raw tomatoes but love them in sauces etc.
ebgirl ebgirl 10 years
Zebra-stripe tomatoes are yummy too! I get some at the Farmer's Market, cut them in 4's and just eat them with a touch of salt.
AMP AMP 10 years
I love, love, LOVE tomatoes. All shapes and sizes. I could eat them with every meal. The only thing I can't do it bite into them like an apple, that just weirds me out for some reason. But bite sized, sliced, diced, whatever other way, extra tomatoes please!!!
KerryG KerryG 10 years
I hate raw tomatoes, too, but love them in sauces and soups and things. My dad has been experimenting with growing heirloom tomatoes in recent years and people who would know better than I say they are the best-tasting tomatoes they've ever had. (He grows lots and gives them away to family, friends, and coworkers by the bushel.) He gets the seeds from a variety of places, but a few I know are: http://www.seedsofchange.com/default.asp http://www.superseeds.com/ http://www.territorial-seed.com/ http://www.abundantlifeseeds.com/
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
I still eat ketchup and red pasta sauce, yes! There's just something about the texture and taste mixed together of a tomato that I don't like.
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 10 years
Cherokee Purples (heirloom) are the most delicious tomato I've ever had. LaLaLaurie, I've know many people who hate tomatoes but still eat ketchup and red pasta sauce...do you hate those, too? Just curious. I can't imagine not liking tomatoes!
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
ugh! I hate tomatoes. My mom said that I'd like the cherry tomatoes b/c they are sweeter but bleck! They tasted just as bad.
millarci millarci 10 years
I'm really horrible at selecting fruit and vegetables at the supermarket. Thanks for the tip on how to select tomatoes!
lanilovespeaches lanilovespeaches 10 years
hmm, plum and roma=the same. good to know
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