Tomato Guide: How to best use different types of tomatoes
This time of year, tomatoes taste so good that you can literally just take a bite out of one and eat it raw.
Tomatoes are typically harvested from mid-July to mid-September in northern Indiana, which means people are picking them fresh from their garden, giving them to friends and neighbors and canning them to use until next year’s harvest.
It also means that there is a bounty of tomatoes of different sizes, shapes and colors in the grocery store produce section. For people who didn’t garden or who are otherwise unfamiliar with the differences between the breeds, it can be pretty overwhelming.
Check out Flavor 574’s guide to a few of the most popular types of tomatoes. Read the tips below and let us know in the comments what types you like to use in your favorite recipes.
FLAVOR PROFILE: Mild and juicy, but can be sweet
GOOD FOR: Enjoy these large late-summer tomatoes raw on a sandwich, in salads or just out-of-hand. They can be used to make a quick tomato-based pasta sauce or roasted and are great for salsa.
FLAVOR PROFILE: Tangy, slightly sweet and dry
GOOD FOR: Because they’re dry, roma tomatoes are great for tomato-based sauces, pastes and soups. They’re also great raw in salads if you don’t like the watery insides of other tomatoes.
CHERRY TOMATOES & OTHER MINIS
FLAVOR PROFILE: Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, sweet 100s, sweet millions and others are very sweet and full flavored.
GOOD FOR: Enjoy them raw alone or tossed in salads. You can also sauté or roast them with olive oil and herbs and enjoy them individually or tossed with pasta or a salad. Mini tomatoes are also good for topping pizzas or adding to tomato-based sauces.
FLAVOR PROFILE: Flavors vary, but generally most have a strong classic “tomato” flavor
GOOD FOR: Heirloom tomatoes are good for everything, but are ideally eaten raw. They will be the star of any dish featuring raw tomatoes, like Caprese salad, bruschetta, BLT sandwiches or on top of pizza. If you must cook them, they can be used for a tomato sauce but expect to use what you made that day.
FLAVOR PROFILE: Mild to light flavor
GOOD FOR: Buying once, but probably never again. Even out-of-season, other tomato varieties available at the grocery store are likely to have more flavor.