The tomato is native to South America and is believed to have first been cultivated in Mexico by the Aztecs. It was brought to Europe in the 1500s. Before it was widely accepted, it was referred to as the “love apple” and regarded with some suspicion, as were many of the plants in the Nightshade family. In time, the fruit was accepted and incorporated into national European cuisines in such a way that we might have assumed that tomatoes were actually native to Italy or Greece.
Herbs that pair well with the flavor of tomatoes include basil, oregano, pepper, dill, marjoram, thyme, garlic, bay leaf, tarragon, chives, and parsley.
Whole, raw tomatoes can be hollowed out and stuffed with chicken or tuna salad. Serve sliced tomatoes on sandwiches, or in wedges in a salad.
Tomatoes are fantastic candidates for canning, and now is the time to do it. Whether you make your own tomato paste, sauce, or can the tomatoes whole, the flavor and nutritional value of will be there waiting for you months later. You could even try making your own ketchup.
Tomatoes don’t like to be cold, either when they are growing or after harvest. They’re best stored on the counter at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Keeping them in the fridge will give them a mealy texture and lessens their flavor. They should last a week to two weeks on a cool counter top.
Store cut tomatoes in an airtight container in the fridge.
Peeling and deseeding tomatoes before adding them to your cooked recipe can reduce the acidity, and make the final product more pallet-friendly by getting rid of the curled tomato skin “sticks.” Here’s an easy way to do it: Bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Trim out a small cone shaped section of the tomato at the stem end, and with the tip of a paring knife, score a shallow “X” on the bottom of the tomato. Place it in the water for ten to thirty seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and shock it in an ice water bath. The skin should easily peel off in your hands. Cut the tomato in half lengthwise. Squeeze it gently and use your finger or the handle of a spoon to scoop the seeds out.
We have lots of different types of tomatoes in the Abundant Harvest Organics produce boxes, starting with vine-ripened greenhouse tomatoes in the spring, picking up with field tomatoes in the summer and into the fall as long as temperatures stay warm.