There are several thousand tomato varieties, each with its own shape, color, size and taste. Let’s take a look at 5 of them, and how best to use them…
Cherry tomato, perfect for appetizers
Ah, that first juicy bite! Sweet sensations dribble down your throat. This bite-sized treat packs a lot of taste for such a small tomato! Cherry tomato, more often than not, is simply munched on raw. No wonder, it’s so tasty!
Red ones are the most common, but there are more and more new colors, too, like yellow or black. Slightly larger, cocktail tomatoes can be carved out and filled in with cream cheese, for instance.
Cluster tomatoes for tossed salads
A direct competitor to the traditional round tomato, cluster tomatoes were first bred in 1995. Today, more than half of tomatoes grown and sold are of this type. Gourmets love its stronger taste, perfect when paired with other vegetables in a tossed salad. It’s often a bit more expensive, too.
Important tip: don’t store this one in the refrigerator, or it’ll turn mealy.
Plum tomatoes, ideal for sauces
The most famous plum tomato is the Roma tomato. Fleshy, but not so juicy, this long egg-shaped tomato holds well to cooking. Its flesh will stay bright red, and remain firm.
Typical uses for this one include tomato sauce and cooked sides. About 5% of the world’s tomato production is plum tomato.
Beefsteak tomato, suited to stuffing
Most of these are also in the “ribbed tomato” category, since they have such a distinctive shape. Among these, several heirloom varieties are resurfacing and appearing in stores and farmer’s markets, such as the beefsteak tomato and the Cuor di bue tomato.
One would often eat it whole, with the inside carved out and stuffed with a variety of ingredients before being baked in an oven. Its abundant flesh also makes for great ratatouille, gazpacho… and even sherbet ice cream!
Pineapple tomato, an American breed great for drying
Not so common yet in Europe, the pineapple tomato is famous already in the United States. It owes its name to the pinkish markings inside the orange-yellow flesh, they look somewhat similar to its namesake fruit, the pineapple.
Although the taste is delicate and light, pineapple tomatoes are cursed with a texture that is much more dense than other varieties. It’s better-tasting when sliced and dried.
Note also the Black Krim tomato which many appreciate for its beautiful dark color and unique taste, especially in salads.
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Pixabay: Monika, Hans Braxmeier, Cornelia Gerhardt, Bernadette Wurzinger, Hartmut Rühl, Sommerwolke
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