A tomato is classified as a fruit or berry in the plant kingdom. People though prefer to call it a vegetable due to its outstanding usage in food preparation. Tomatoes are juicy, sweet and acidic in nature. They exist in different sizes from very small to bigger sizes. Different Shapes like round, oval and pear-shaped, and different colours like green, red, and orange, purple.
Tomatoes are commonly used in cooking in Uganda to season and spice foods. They are most often used in their natural unpreserved form. They are added to almost all foods like Katogo food mixtures and all Ugandan stews like Ugandan pork stew.
There are various varieties of tomatoes on the market as we shall see next;
4 COMMON VERITIES OF TOMATOES
Plum tomatoes have an oval or egg shape. They have a good flavour and thick flesh making them good for sauces, cooking and canning. Its thick flesh gives them low water content in the middle this makes them suitable for a thick and flavorful sauce. They grow to approximately a length 3 inches, and an inch or two in diameter. They are available in red and yellow colours.
Cherry tomatoes are small, round and very juicy. They are usually an inch or less in diameter with a bright red colour. The small cherry tomatoes are perfect for snacking and salads. They are called cherry tomatoes because they are about the same size and shape as a cherry. Most cherry tomatoes are red, but they can be found in yellow and orange colours as well. They are sweet and are usually eaten raw and whole.
These are small and round. They are slightly smaller and more oblong compared to the cherry tomatoes. They also have tough skin and longer shelf life compared to cherry tomatoes. Grape tomatoes are most often used whole in salads or as a snack food and appetizer. they are available in red or orange colours.
The skin texture of the pear tomato is similar to that of the cherry tomatoes, but they have a mild flavour and are smaller in size with a shape like a pear. It is available in several colours, red, yellow salads, appetizers and snacks.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST TOMATOES FROM THE MARKET
Choosing the best and good tomato from the market is not about the size or shape; sometimes you select the reddest tomato from the bunch only to find black diseases patches inside. Let us look at how best you can select tomatoes from the market.
- Feel the tomatoes as you select and choose those that feel heavy for their size.
- A good tomato should smell earthy and like a fresh cut tomato and not musty or flat.
If you have planted your own tomatoes or selected straight from the farmers garden, this is how to select tasty tomatoes;
- Tasty tomatoes are most often dry farmed. The tomato plants aren’t watered after their flowers set, forcing the plants to work a bit harder to make the tomatoes and leading to better, deeper flavor.
- Tasty tomatoes are Vine-ripened.The tomatoes are left to ripen on the vine before they are picked.
HOW TO STORE FRESH TOMATOES
- Whole ripe tomatoes should not in the refrigerator because this will cause them to become pulpy and lose their flavor as well as the juices.
- Fresh tomatoes should be stored at room temperature and out of the sunlight. They should be arranged in an organized manner in an open container and should be set to lie upside down.
- Ripe tomatoes should last a few days as should be consumed as soon as possible.
- Cut pieces of tomatoes that remain should be stored in the refrigerator in order to prevent bacterial growth. Place your cut tomato in a container and cover it with a lid bare placing in the refrigerator. Try to use your tomato as soon as possible.
HOW TO EASILY REMOVE THE TOMATO SKIN
- Wash tomatoes under cool running water.
- Slice an “X” on the bottom of each tomato with a knife
- Boil water in a kettle or saucepan
- Fill a container with the boiled hot water
- Placethe tomatoes in boiling water, marking sure that they are completely submerged.
- Wait for 30 seconds for the skin to loosen up.
- Remove the tomatoes and place them into cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Peel away the skin and a core with a knife.