Eduard Udyanskyy is a tomato grower for Glinwell, who have been supplying Tesco with tomatoes for 22 years. Here, he looks at how to choose and store your tomatoes for maximum flavour…
Picking your favourite tomato
Tomatoes come in all shapes, sizes and colours. There are hundreds of varieties of tomato, but for simplicity we can place them into five types.
Beef tomatoes. These beautiful, large tomatoes have a unique, slightly flattened shape and are deep red in colour. They have a good firm texture and a sweet mellow flavour. The flesh of beef tomatoes is very thick, which makes them ideal for stuffing with minced meats, vegetables, rice or couscous. Their size and shape also makes them excellent for slicing for sandwiches, salads or placing in a burger.
Salad or round tomatoes. One of the most versatile and common types of tomato, the salad tomato can be used in all sorts of ways. Lovely and firm, they are also juicy and full of flavour – they taste great in sandwiches and salads.
Plum and baby plum tomatoes. Plum tomatoes are a deep red with a distinctive oval shape. Richly flavoured with fewer seeds than round tomatoes, they are one of the best cooking varieties as they have a concentrated flavour and high acidity. Their firm flesh makes them perfect for cooking, particularly in Mediterranean dishes such as ratatouille and pasta sauces. Baby plums are the tiniest type of plum tomatoes available. They are sweet, oval-shaped and just perfect for eating as they are. With their deep red colour and delicious flavour, they look and taste great in salads and on kebabs too.
Cherry tomatoes. The nation’s favourite is a great choice for any occasion. Deliciously sweet, crisp and juicy, the cherry tomato is the perfect snack and is ideal for adding to salads, or to roast and serve with grilled fish and meats.
Vine tomatoes. These may include any of the types mentioned previously, but are marketed with fruit still attached to the vine.
Tomatoes have lots of health benefits
Tomatoes are high in fibre and low in calories. They are a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium. Tomatoes also contain the antioxidant lycopene, which helps mop up damaging free radicals in the body that can harm our cells. Studies have shown that lycopene may help prevent cancer.
Getting the best taste from your tomatoes
Perfectly ripe tomatoes have a vibrant, deep red colour, but should still have a firm texture. Never store tomatoes in the fridge, as this will impair flavour and texture. If your tomatoes are not quite ripe, leave them in your fruit bowl for a couple of days at room temperature, preferably in the sun.
The riper the tomato, the deeper the colour
Look for plump, red tomatoes with wrinkle-free skin. Our British Finest Piccolo Cherry Tomatoes and British Finest Baby Plum Tomatoes are grown under glass and planted from January onwards. Sweet and full of flavour, they’re both perfect for salads. Or try our Cherry On The Vine Tomatoes – they’re great for barbecues and simple to cook. Just pop them on the grill while still on the vine, or try frying them with a bit of garlic. They’re available in store from March right up to November.
Tomatoes are perfect for snacking
Strictly speaking, tomatoes are a fruit, and the sweeter cherry and baby plum tomatoes can be eaten like sweets.