Bright, juicy tomatoes are a staple ingredient around the world. From Italian sauces to Mexican salsas, there’s no excuse not to incorporate them into your summer dishes. And we have plenty of time-saving tomato tools to help get you out of the kitchen and back to the pool in no time flat.
Tips and Tricks
- Store tomatoes stem-side down to keep them fresh longer. We’ve been doing it wrong this whole time!
- Add a tomato half to your homemade stocks to turn the color a deeper, richer brown.
- Never store your tomatoes in the fridge. It makes them mealy and dry (not to mention cold).
- Need to peel a large batch of tomatoes? Cut a shallow X in the skin and give them a quick dunk in boiling water, then ice water. The skins will come right off!
- Producers often expose tomatoes to ethylene gas to artificially “ripen” them. This turns them red, but it doesn’t do anything for the flavor. To judge ripeness smell tomatoes near the stem end—a truly ripe tomato will have a garden-fresh aroma—part floral, part earthy. A gas-ripened tomato smells like nothing. Your nose knows the difference!
- Don’t judge a tomato by it’s peel. Heirloom tomatoes may look lumpy, misshapen and blotchy, but they’re consistently the most flavorful varieties available. And they come in a rainbow of colors that look great in a salad or on a sandwich.
- Select tomatoes that are heavy for their size and firm to the touch, with just a small amount of give in the peel.
- Tomatoes are grown in 93% of North American residential gardens, making them the most popular homegrown vegetable in the US!
- While tomatoes are commonly thought of as vegetables, they’re actually berries. Why? In the 1890’s the U.S. Supreme Court decided to formally classify tomatoes as vegetables for custom regulation purposes. (Editor’s Note: Read more about Nix v. Hedden here.)
- Tomatoes originally hail from Peru and their Aztec name meant “plump thing with navel.”
- Tomatoes possess high concentrations of lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that may help prevent cellular damage. This makes it potentially useful for a host of conditions, including hypertension, inflammation, cardiovascular disease and cancer (but check with your doctor first).