Tomatoes are one of the most versatile and commonly used ingredients on the planet. Tomatoes grow on vine-like plants and start life small green. As they grow and ripen they develop their red colour. They are technically a fruit but commonly used as a vegetable. They are the base of many soups, pasta sauces, chutneys, curry and stews.
Tomatoes are commonly sold fresh, canned, blended (passata) or sun-dried. Fresh tomatoes are used in salads, cut finely and used in salsa and they are are a key component to bruschetta. They are also commonly added to sandwiches.
Passata is commonly used on pizzas and in many sauces like ragu. Sun-dried tomatoes are ripe tomatoes that have lost most of their moisture after drying in the sun. Sundried tomatoes have an intense flavour and a slightly chewy texture.
They are also responsible for the worlds favourite condiment, ketchup!
Types of tomatoes
There are many different varieties of tomatoes and they can vary greatly in shape and size and taste.
The smallest tomato variety, cherry tomatoes are usually quite sweet, they are lovely roasted or added fresh to salads.
Big, and juicy Red Beefsteak tomatoes are the kind of tomatoes you find sliced up in a burger. They have a mild flavour. They are also good in sandwiches and salads.
Also known as plum tomatoes, Roma tomatoes are a large variety of tomatoes with an oblong shape. They can be bought fresh but they are quite often caned or tined. They have an intensely sweet and tangy taste. They are commonly used for sauces, puree and they are also fantastic for sun drying.
Heirloom tomatoes come in a rainbow of different colours and they have a rich flavour. Most tomatoes have a smooth round shape but heirlooms tend to have slight ridges that make them look like little pumpkins. They look fantastic in salads, sandwiches or simply cut up and served with some shredded mozzarella and a good splash of olive oil.
Nutritional information of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are rich in vitamins, nutrients, and health-benefiting antioxidants.
The antioxidant lycopene is present in tomatoes. Lycopene has been linked to decreasing your risk of developing heart disease and cancer.
They have great amounts of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Vitamin K has many important functions. It helps your body clot blood properly, it regulates calcium levels and it promotes good bone health and maintenance.
There are about 17 calories per 100g of fresh uncooked and ripe tomatoes.