If you have a garden your plants should flourishing really well and if you’re lucky you’re now able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Today’s Tuesday’s TIP with The Kitchen Whisperer is all about Garden Tomatoes. I swear when I was little there were really only two types of tomatoes – cherry and heirloom. Call it naive but that’s honestly the only types I remember however now there are countless varieties in various shapes, sizes, colors and flavors. Today we’re just going to stick with some of the basics.
Heirloom tomatoes: vary in shape, size, color and flavor
Green tomatoes: firm, with a great balance of sweetness and acidity
Cherry tomatoes: small in size, very sweet, juicy flesh with tender skin
Globe tomatoes: round shape with sweet juiciness, well-balanced with acidity
Beefsteak tomatoes: large in size, firm juicy flesh, great sliced on a sandwich
Plum tomatoes: oval shape with meaty flesh and rich flavor, great for sauces
Picking tomatoes fresh from the garden:
Although tomatoes are available year round, their true season is from July to October. During this time, you are likely to find locally grown tomatoes that spend more time vine-ripening, creating a far superior quality than your artificially ripened supermarket version. When selecting a tomato, it should be heavy for its size, free of any bruises or blemishes and have a strong aroma. Color is not necessarily an indicator of quality, but avoid those that are supposed to be red but have a significant amount of green. Select tomatoes that are deeply colored and firm, with a little give. Sniff all tomatoes if you can. If they’re missing that sweet, woody smell, leave them behind. Check grape tomatoes for wrinkles, a sign of age.
Storing your tomatoes:
Tomatoes continue to ripen after they are picked from the vine. Unless they have achieved peak ripeness, they should be stored at room temperature and never refrigerated. Refrigeration causes tomatoes to become soft and mealy, and it can prevent the development of their full flavor and color. Never store them in a plastic bag. If you want to speed the ripening process, put the tomatoes in a pierced paper bag with an apple, which emits ethylene gas, a ripening agent.
Tricks to cut your ‘Maters:
Be sure to sharpen and hone your knife before slicing tomatoes. Due to its thick skin, slicing a tomato with a sharp knife is the best way to ensure even slices and can help prevent any accidents.
If you Youtube this trick it’s super cool to cut a lot of cherry or grape tomatoes quickly: Take two small plastic lids of the same size (ideally quart-size lids), place as many tomatoes as you can in a single layer on top of one of the lids, then place the other on top and carefully slice through.
Tomatoes can be grilled, roasted, or sautéed. Or make a juicy sandwich: Spread white bread with mayonnaise; top with tomato slices and a second piece of bread. One bite and you’ll wish fall would never come.