Recipes @ Tips for a Top-Notch Tomato

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tips for a Top-Notch Tomato

Come late summer, the garden and farmer's markets abound with juicy fresh tomatoes. Here's a few tips for selecting and storing fresh tomatoes:

  • Selecting: Choose plump, well-shaped fairly firm-textured tomatoes with bright color. Ripened tomatoes yield slightly to gentle pressure. Avoid bruised or cracked tomatoes.
  • Storing: If fresh tomatoes need to ripen, store them at room temperature in a brown paper bag or in a fruit-ripening bowl. Skip the temptation to stand tomatoes in the sun to ripen--they will become mushy. And, store only ripe tomatoes in a refrigerator because the chill of the refrigerator puts the brakes on further ripening. Freezing is ideal for stretching the tomato season well into fall and winter. You can enjoy frozen tomatoes in soups, stews and casseroles.
More and more, heirloom tomatoes are appearing in farmer's markets and farm stands. But do you know what is meant by the term "heirloom"? Heirloom tomatoes are special because they have been passed down through the generations by way of their seeds and will have the characteristics of the earlier varieties—their parent plants. They usually have more flavor than hybrids, slightly smaller fruit, and funny names, such as Mortgage Lifter, a beefsteak named in the 1930s. So, grab a few tomatoes and put them into use.

Carrie Grosvenor of Party Food has an interesting recipe for Guacamole Stuffed Tomatoes and Jacqueline Church of Gourmet Food shares some simple ways to enjoy heirloom tomatoes. If you're in the mood for making homemade tomato sauce, Devy Stone in Seasonal Cooking shares her technique. Enjoy those tomatoes!

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