When was the last time you had a really good tomato? Are you so accustomed to the pale, cardboard tomatoes in the stores that you have forgotten what they are supposed to taste like? Because it has become so important to make sure that tomatoes survive great shipping distances, most of the advances in growing and hybridizing have been economical, rather than nutritional or gastronomical.
Among the most recognizable varieties in the stores are the cherry tomato, the plum tomato and the slicing tomato. Unless you are lucky enough to be able to grow your own, here are some shopping tips you should try to follow:
- Do not buy tomatoes from a refrigerator; the cold spoils them. Exposure to temperatures under 55 degrees during growth or after harvest prevents the tomato from ripening properly and developing a full flavor.
- Look for heavy, plum tomatoes with soft skins, they must be free of bruises; the leaves should be green and fresh.
- Ripe tomatoes are sweet-smelling, but even more green ones should have a mild fragrance. If they have no aroma at all, they were probably picked when they were still quite immature; they never will ripen.
- Pick a size that works for you. The size has no bearing on the flavor, texture or quality.
- Tomatoes that are too ripe can still be used in sauces.