Hot House tomatoes are used in salads and for cooking purposes because they are very bright red and shiny. They are still grown outdoors but were cultivated in a hot house and thrive the best in greenhouse, hot house conditions. Hot House Tomatoes are vine ripened are usually available from late July to October locally but are available year round from non-local sources. Bursting with flavour, tomatoes go with everything, salads, salsas, sauces and so much more.
The best-tasting tomatoes arrive in farmer’s markets and backyard gardens during the hot months of August and September. Summer tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes are a revelation. Succulent, sweet and bursting with astounding flavor, tomatoes rank as America’s most popular home garden crop.
Botanically, the tomato is a fruit — a berry, to be precise. In 1893, however, the US classified it as a vegetable to settle a trade dispute. Whatever you want to call it, the tomato is central to the cuisine of many lands. Raw, cooked, dried, fresh or canned, its versatility is indisputable. And if that isn’t reason enough to sing its praises, the tomato is a nutritional powerhouse. It provides dietary fiber, vitamin C, iron and potassium, and is the major dietary source of lycopene. Recent studies suggest that lycopene, a carotenoid that gives the tomato its red color, is a potent antioxidant than may help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.
TIP: Ripe tomatoes are juicy and will begin to release liquid as soon as they’re cut — even faster if they’re salted. If your tomatoes have thick skins, blanch them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds (the harder the tomato, the longer the time needed), then shock them in ice water; they should then be easy to peel.
Handling & Storage:
- Regardless of variety, the best-tasting tomatoes are fully ripe. Choose specimens with a noticeable fragrance, a sure sign that they were picked ripe. They should feel heavy for their size and yield to gentle finger pressure.
- Avoid tomatoes with deep cracks, blemishes or signs of mold. Never buy refrigerated tomatoes; the cold kills their flavor and can make the flesh mealy.
- Keep unripe fresh tomatoes in a paper bag at room temperature until they ripen. Store ripe tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and use them within a day of purchase. (Heirloom varieties are especially perishable.)
- Wash your tomatoes thoroughly and cut away any damaged or bruised areas before using. Discard tomatoes that are mushy or split, appear wilted, look discolored or smell bad. Never refrigerate whole tomatoes, but always refrigerate cut tomatoes.