Foodie Friday: Tomatoes 101: What You Need to Know Before You Shop

While botanists say it’s a fruit, we eat it like a vegetable. However, few will disagree that tomatoes add a burst of flavor and nutrition to summer side dishes, sandwiches and salsas. 

With vitamins A and C, plus potassium and the antioxidant lycopene, they’re good for your health, too.

Whether you’re growing them yourself or purchasing tomatoes from a grocery store or farmer’s market, here’s a guide to help you choose the best:

Tomato Types

Also called beefsteak or slicing tomatoes, these large, round red varieties can weigh as much as two pounds. Since they’re sturdy and have a meaty texture, they work well in sandwiches.

Also known as Romas, these hearty types have the most flesh and the fewest seeds, so they’ll make fresh pasta sauces thicken up beautifully.

These sturdy little poppers are smaller versions of plum tomatoes and are a popular choice for salads. Because they have a fairly long shelf life, supermarkets tend to import them during the cooler months.

Some shoppers confuse the similarly sized cherry and grape tomato. But the more delicate cherry tomatoes are usually sweeter with a more distinctive flavor. They’re ideal for dishes in which you want the tomato to shine (like in a simple salad or on a crudité platter).

Quick-pickled tomatoes, anyone? Learn three ways to prepare tomatoes in the current issue of Vim & Vigor magazine.


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