Tomatoes Tomatoes have changed a lot since I was a kid, at least the options in the grocery store have. Ours only came in red. Now there is a plethora of beautiful shades and colors. They make for a quick gorgeous salad. Growing up on of the treats I looked forward to the most was a plate of fresh tomatoes from the garden, sliced thin and lightly salted. Nothing says summer like that. My first days in Indiana and I have already enjoyed some of the fresh tomatoes from my parents garden.
Season: summer, June-September
What to look for when you buy: Picking a good tomato look for tomatoes that say vine ripened. Tomatoes that are ripened using ethylene, a gas produced by fruits, makes for tomatoes with less flavor and an undesirable mealy texture. Looks for tomatoes with a bright color, a firm feel and no bruises.
How to store it: Store them on the counter at room temperature stem side down for a longer shelf life. Tomatoes can be stored in the fridge, but it will make a mealy texture. If you only need part of the tomato slice it and store in a plastic container in the fridge.
How to prepare it: The biggest key to using tomatoes is a sharp knife. Remember the ginsu knife commercials? Maybe I am dating myself with that reference. Back to tomatoes. Without a sharp knife you will smash the tomato as you are pressing to cut it. With a properly sharp knife it will slice through like butter. A great way to test if your knives need to be sharpened.
How to cook it: As I mentioned my favorite way to eat tomatoes is sliced with a little salt. A touch of balsamic is great as well. Perfect for hot days when you don’t want to turn on the oven.
Links to some great tomato recipes:
Oven Roasted Tomatoes - Proving my theory all you need is a 400 degree oven and a cookie sheet
Caprese Salad - The key to a great caprese salad is quality ingredients & maybe this balsamic reduction!
Herbed tomato & roasted garlic tart - A more complex recipe but still simple ingredients that showcase great tomatoes
Heirloom Tomato Salad - Nothing more beautiful yet simple than an heirloom tomato salad