All summer long, we gorge on tomatoes. We eat them raw, with olive oil and salt, in thick slices on burgers, baked in a crostata, chopped and seasoned in a panzanella, and on top of any salad. We feast our eyes and our stomachs on yellow cherry tomatoes, giant multi-colored Mr. Stripeys, and heirloom Jersey tomatoes. Many farms now grow many heirloom varieties of tomatoes, which come from older seeds and over have more flavor than the newer brands. Those are the kind we look for to send to you.
While it's hard to go wrong with summer tomatoes, here's your summer guide to help ensure that your tomato consumption is very, very right.
What's your favorite way to eat summer tomatoes? Tell us in the comments!
THE LOOK Tomatoes come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The most traditional look is round, red, and medium-sized. Cherry tomatoes, are, of course, small. And don't shy away from trying tomatoes that are less apparently perfect. Some heirloom strains look positively ugly--brown-ish, cracked, and uneven. Yet those are often the tastiest types, and you don't want to miss out. Whether yellow, red, orange, or purple, a tomato's skin should always lie firm on the surface, with no mushy parts. Beyond that, stay open-minded when assessing the aesthetics of a tomato and make it a point to sample any fine- or ugly-looking specimen you see.
While the look of tomatoes has a huge range, all excellent tomatoes have one characteristic in common: they smell great. The scent of a perfectly ripe tomato will make you think of summer: a combination of grass, dirt, sunshine, and fruit. If you don't get a summery whiff from your tomato, especially right around the stem, the flavor may be lacking too. Head to the next farmstand.
STORAGE Keep your tomatoes on the counter in a cool, shaded spot. Never put tomatoes in the refrigerator. We're serious! Never. When tomatoes go in the fridge, their flesh chills and becomes unappealingly mealy. At the same time, their flavor vanishes. This is not good. You'll need a whole lot of salt to spruce up a refrigerated tomato. Don't make the sacrifice. The optimal temperature for tomato storage is 60 to 65°F. Since that range can be hard to find in the summer time, we recommend you look for the coolest spot in your kitchen apart from the fridge and store the tomatoes there. Then, plan to eat them within two days, while they're fresh.
PREPARATIONS Recipes for tomatoes abound! We've already shared tomato jam, panzanella, tabbouleh salad, crostata, and salmon burgers, We'll be sending out many more wonderful tomato recipes all summer long. If your tomato craving can't wait for your next Blue Apron box, here's what we recommend: take a great tomato, slice it, sprinkle on salt, pepper, and olive oil and eat with a slice of fresh mozzarella. There is hardly anything better.