Name: Lycopersium, Tomato
Origin: South America
Place of production: Centre, Indre et Loire, Aquitaine
Seasonality: June to October
Specificity: Rich in vitamin C and trace elements, thirst-quenching
Originally from South America, tomatoes are usually grown in a warm environment. They can be found in the wild, but were grown for the first time in Mexico by the Aztecs, who named them “Tomalt”. They appeared in Europe in the 16th century, after the Spanish and Portuguese brought them back from their travels to America. The Italians named them “golden apples” and mostly made sauces out of them. Eaten as a vegetable, tomatoes are deemed by some to be a fruit because they grow from a flower. They are now considered as a vegetable fruit.
In France, they were initially only used as ornaments because they were believed to be toxic. Provence was the first region to discover their taste, and they were thus named “golden apples”. The rest of the country soon followed suit and tomatoes were consumed as vegetables from the end of the 19th century.
Whole, they can be stored up to a week in a cool place (12°C) but not in the fridge, as it makes them lose in flavour.
Once chopped, they can be stored 48h in the fridge in a closed container.
It is best not to keep them too close to other vegetables such as cucumbers, broccoli, aubergine, mushrooms or cabbage as this will make the other produce age much quicker.
To peel tomatoes, remove their green stalk. Mark the tomatoes with an X making sure to cut into the flesh. Plunge the tomatoes into simmering water. Place the tomatoes in ice water, then peel them.
If you wish to cook the tomatoes, stuffing them is a good idea. Cut the top off the tomatoes, remove the seeds then drain them. Stuff them with the mixture of your choice before baking them in the oven.
To make a salad, slice the tomatoes in such way that you prevent the seeds from coming out.
Choosing your tomatoes wisely
- The firmness of the flesh will depend on its ripeness and variety
- Its flesh must be fairly firm and dense
- It should yield under slight pressure
- Its stalk should smell “green”
- Trust your sense of smell when checking if the tomato is ripe