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Ingredient

Tomatoes

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What is it?

Technically a fruit (but treated as a vegetable)) tomatoes are a hallmark of summer, ripening on vines in gardens everywhere. Juicy and often sweet, Tomatoes come in a wide range of shapes and sizes from tiny currant tomatoes to giant beefsteaks and in colors from green to brownish purple. Different varieties are better than others in certain preparations. Plums, for example, with their relatively low water content, makes great sauce while cherry tomatoes are great for quick sautes and for using raw in salad. Tomatoes, especially plum tomatoes, are also often canned.

Kitchen math:

1 lb. fresh whole tomatoes yields about 1 1/2 cups chopped

How to choose:

Choose those with intact skins and no bruises, that are firm but yielding under gentle pressure, and with a deep color (though not necessarily red as it comes in all colors). Different varieties are better than others in certain preparations. Plums, for example, with their relatively low water content, makes great sauce while cherry tomatoes are great for quick sautes and for using raw in salad.

How to prep:

Different recipes call for different preparations though stems are almost always removed. To remove the core, use a sharp paring knife (a serrated knife works best) to carve a V-shape around it, or scoop it out with a handy gadget called a tomato shark. If your recipe calls for peeling the tomatoes, cut an X in the skin, boil them for a few seconds and then blanch them in ice water; this will loosen the skin and make peeling them much easier. If your recipe calls for removing the seeds, hold a halved tomato over a bowl, squeeze it gently, and work out the seeds with your fingers.

How to store:

Leave tomatoes at room temperature until you?re ready to use them. Refrigeration causes loss of flavor and a mealy texture.

Check out the Tomato Purée recipe for detailed instructions on how to make and can tomato purées.

Cross Reference

canned tomatoes; heirloom tomatoes

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