4 Things to Know About Tomatoes, Plus New Recipes

4 Things to Know About Tomatoes, Plus New Recipes

It's Tomato Week at Kitchen Stories!

The best way to shop? With the seasons. So, every 2 weeks at Kitchen Stories, we’ll be highlighting a different in-season ingredient along with 3 new recipes. To the market, we go!

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In Germany, no other fruit is quite as popular as Tomatoes—each person eats approximately 25 kg/55 lbs of them per year. And there are some convincing reasons for that… 

Whether it’s a sauce on pizza or pasta, puréed in a soup or just plain in a salad, tomatoes are incredibly versatile. Furthermore, tomatoes are more than 90 percent water, which means they are really low in calories. They are also rich in Lycopene—a natural pigment, which helps protect our cells from detrimental environmental influences and can help lower the risk of regenerative heart disease and cancer.

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What’s your favorite recipe with tomatoes? Tell us in the comments, and upload a picture of your creations for all to enjoy! 

1. Hi, My Name is Tomato

Originally, tomatoes are from South America and, more specifically, from the Andes. Today, there are over 10,000 different types of tomatoes worldwide, and they come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors—red, yellow, green, or multicolored; big, small, round, or oval—almost anything is possible. The largest variety, however, is being cultivated in Central America. 

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Whether you bake, cook, freeze, dry them for antipasti, or enjoy them raw, there are almost infinite possibilities and dishes you can make with this round fruit. What would a BBQ be with out a colorful tomato salad?

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2. How to Best Store Tomatoes

Tomatoes are juicy, delicious, and delicate. They should never be stored in the fridge since they can’t handle the cold and will lose their taste and natural aroma. They also tend to mold much faster in colder environments.

Even though tomatoes are technically considered a fruit, you should never store them with other fruit. Tomatoes release ethylene, a natural gas that speeds up the ripening process of apples, pears, etc. 

3. When To Buy the Most Flavorful Tomatoes

Tomato season starts in July and ends in September. Like many other vegetables and fruit, you can stll purchase them year round, though they won’t taste like much. In winter, tomatoes are imported and therefore harvested when they are still green and unripe. They have to ripen in transport boxes instead of on the bush, which means less flavorful fruit.

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4. How to Buy and Store Perfect Tomatoes

When buying tomatoes, you should check if the tomato is already too ripe by slightly pressing in with your thumb; it shouldn’t be mushy. Stay away from damaged tomatoes as they tend to mold more quickly. To select perfectly ripened tomatoes, rub two against each other; if they squeak, you’re on the right track. Just like strawberries, the most flavorful tomatoes are also the most aromatic.

It is also recommended to buy your tomatoes at local markets and as seasonal and regional as possible. In store, you will mostly only get so-called semi-long life tomatoes, which are bred to have a longer shelf life, but way less flavor. So, if you enjoy eating tomatoes raw, we recommend you check out alternative options to supermarkets to get the best flavor.

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Tomatoes do continue to ripen after harvesting, so you can buy them when they are still slightly green, just leave them on the kitchen counter for 2 – 3 days until they are ready to be devoured. It’s also recommended to remove the stem when preparing them, since it doesn’t only taste bad, it also contains small amounts of Solanine, a mildly poisonous substance. However, it is harmless to eat the stem if consumption is kept at a minimum. 

5. What to Make Next

All week long, we’ll be featuring new tomato recipes on Kitchen Stories. Check back to see what’s new, then try one for yourself! Here’s where to start:

Heirloom tomato salad

Heirloom tomato salad

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Tomato-melon gazpacho with coconut croutons

Tomato-melon gazpacho with coconut croutons

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Tomato and goat cheese tartlets

Tomato and goat cheese tartlets

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