Tomatoes are a popular fruit enjoyed in many dishes around the world. Tomatoes come in many different colours and sizes; some people like to eat them raw, while others prefer to cook them.
Their distinct taste is enjoyed by many, but for those who don’t like the taste of tomatoes, they can be made into tomato sauce which adds flavour to all kinds of dishes.
Tomatoes are a fruit that many people enjoy in their diet. However, there is some debate on whether tomatoes should be considered a vegetable because they grow on plants with flowers.
Tomatoes come from the plant Solanum Lycopersicum.
How To Ripen Tomatoes
If you are growing your tomatoes or buying some still green, you will need to ripen them.
One way to ripen tomatoes is to put them in a brown paper bag with a banana. The ethylene gas given off by the fruit will speed up the ripening process of your tomatoes.
Alternatively, leave them in a brown paper bag on their own, or simply leave them somewhere warm but not in direct sunlight.
Related: How To Ripen Tomatoes
How To Prepare Tomatoes
There are lots of different ways to prepare tomatoes, depending on how you are using them.
If you are serving the tomatoes raw, all they need is a good wash and then sliced – unless you are eating cherry tomatoes that are often small enough to be eaten whole.
Make sure the knife is sharp; a serrated knife is best.
If you are using tomatoes in a recipe that will be cooked, you may or may not be leaving the skin on. If the skin needs to be removed, you will need to blanch it.
If a recipe requires you to remove the seeds of the tomato, this can be done straight after blanching them. After the skin has been peeled off, cut it into quarters and scoop out the seeds.
How To Cook Tomatoes
There are many ways to prepare tomatoes, whether you enjoy them as a side dish, in a salad or as an ingredient in a main meal.
Roasting Tomatoes – if they are whole, cook in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. The skin will start to wrinkle up and look slightly burnt in places.
Related: How To Roast Tomatoes
Grilling Tomatoes – Cut in half and place under a hot grill for about 5 minutes.
Frying Tomatoes – Slice tomatoes and fry for a few minutes on each side.
Boiling – When adding chopped tomatoes to other ingredients to make meals such as soups, stews and casseroles, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer according to recipe instructions.
How To Store Tomatoes
If you are not planning to use ripe tomatoes within a few days, store them in the fridge, where they will keep for longer.
After being stored in the fridge, tomatoes should be left at room temperature for about 30 minutes before you are ready to use them. This is because cold temperatures affect their flavour and texture.
When Are Tomatoes In Season?
Tomatoes are grown in greenhouses or grown outdoors, depending on the variety. They are typically harvested between June and October in the UK.
Tomato plants can grow up to 6 feet tall and yield hundreds of fruits or more depending on the plant variety and care given during growth time.
If you have a glut of homegrown tomatoes, consider canning them to use throughout the year.
Choosing The Best Tomatoes
When picking or buying tomatoes, choose those that are the ripest and firm.
Avoid those with soft spots and bruises as they will not last as long, which can affect their flavour.
Can You Freeze Tomatoes?
Yes, tomatoes can be frozen to use at a later date. Wash and dry the tomatoes. The quickest way to freeze tomatoes is to freeze them whole.
Freezing tomatoes does change their texture, so only freeze ones that you plan on adding to recipes that involve cooking tomatoes.