Also Known as
What are Tomatoes? There are few vegetables that better mark the summer months than the sweet juiciness of a vine-ripened tomato. Although tomatoes are now available year-round, the truly wonderful qualities of tomatoes are the best when they are in season from July through September.
Tomatoes have fleshy internal segments filled with slippery seeds surrounded by a watery matrix. They can be red, yellow, orange, green, purple, or brown in color. Although tomatoes are fruits in a botanical sense, they don't have the dessert quality sweetness of other fruits. Instead they have a subtle sweetness that is complemented by a slightly bitter and acidic taste. Cooking tempers the acid and bitter qualities in tomatoes and brings out their warm, rich, sweetness.
Tomato is a wonderfully popular and versatile food that comes in over a thousand different varieties that vary in shape, size and color. There are small cherry tomatoes, bright yellow tomatoes, Italian pear-shaped tomatoes, and the green tomato, famous for its fried preparation in Southern American cuisine.
Blanched and chopped tomatoes
To blanch tomatoes, immerse them, very briefly in boiling water for 1-3 minutes. This will help to loosen the skin and also partially cook to preserve color and flavor. Remove and then plunge into cold water. Let it cool slightly. Peel, deseed and chop them. They are used in recipes like pizza sauce, salsa, pasta etc.
Blanched tomato cubes
To cut blanched tomatoes, first blanch tomatoes by immersing them, very briefly in boiling water for 1-3 minutes. Remove and then plunge into cold water. Cool slightly, place them on a chopping board and using a sharp knife, cut each tomato into half and then cut into small or big square pieces, as per the recipe requirement.
To blanch tomatoes, immerse them, very briefly in boiling water for 1-3 minutes. This will help to loosen the skin and also partially cook to preserve color and flavor. Remove and then plunge into cold water. Let it cool slightly, and then use as desired. Blanching stops the enzyme action that destroys the fresh flavor, color, and texture of tomatoes. You can peel and chop or cut into quarters the blanched tomatoes to the size as per the recipe requirements.
Take a sharp knife, slice it from the top and then cut it into half from the centre. Cut the half portion into another half and remove the seeds from centre. Chop the tomato by cutting them in small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter, although the chopped food doesn't need to be exactly the same size. If the recipe calls for the ingredients to be "roughly chopped," make the pieces slightly larger. You can chop both green and red tomatoes in the same way mentioned above. If the recipe calls for peeled and chopped you can also chop a tomato by removing its skin and then chopping it to desired size as the recipe calls for.
Use good quality firm tomatoes to grate tomatoes to ensure less wastage. Hold grater in one hand and the tomato in the other. Using minimum pressure, rub the tomato downwards and grate from thick end or thin end of the grater as required. Grated tomatoes are used primarily as a base for gravy based dishes which give a good texture to the dish.
Try to get evenly sized tomatoes that are ripe and still firm, but not over ripe. To properly roast tomatoes it is necessary to peel and seed them - and remove the interior liquid flesh so that you're left with the thick pulpy part. The tomatoes should be cut in half and then the pieces laid, cut side down side down in a rimmed baking sheet or large pan. Sprinkle the pieces lightly with coarse salt, drizzle with olive oil (they should be well-coated) and coat with thyme and chunks of garlic. Roast tomatoes at 250F degrees until they've shrunk to about 1/3 their original thickness about 3-4 hours depending on the size of the original tomato. Turn the pan around while baking (for even cooking) and remove pieces that get done faster than the others. They'll be wrinkled, flat and thin - but still moist inside not dried. Their color will be brick-red. Store roasted tomatoes in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and in the freezer for several months.
Wash the tomato well and dry it, place the tomato on a chopping board, cut into half and deseed it and then using a sharp knife cut vertically into slices as per the recipe requirement.
Dice or cube tomato by cutting them into uniform strips. Line up the strips with your non-working hand and cut them into square pieces. Cube them as per the recipe's need regarding the size of the cubes, (for example, "cut into ½-inch cubes").
Tomato pulp is widely used in Indian, Mexican
and other cuisines because of its versatility. It is an essential ingredient and helps to make delicious dishes that span every course of the meal, from the starters
to the main course
. Most Indian gravies
make use of tomato pulp along with an array of spices and vegetables to make lip-smacking subzis.
It is essential to use ripe tomatoes for making the pulp. You can also play around with the different varieties of tomatoes in order to create sweet, tart or colored pulps. First blanch the tomatoes in simmering water. After removing from heat, drain the tomatoes and let them cool. Remove the skin and the seeds, chop them roughly and add the tomatoes to a mixer and blend into a smooth pulp. Strain the mixture if required.
You can make and stock tomato pulp in the freezer for upto a month. Thaw and use it as and when required.
Place the tomato vertically on the chopping board and cut vertically into 6-8 thick slices will give tomato segments.
Cut the tomato lengthwise in to two halves and cut into 1 ½ inch long strips making slices.
Wash the tomato well and dry it, place the tomato on a chopping board, cut into half and deseed it and then using a sharp knife cut vertically into thin strips.
Clean the tomatoes under cold water. Do not scrub the tomatoes, or they will bruise. Dry them with clean paper towels. Put a clean cutting board on a counter or table with something underneath so that it does not move. Place the tomato on its side on the cutting board. Hold the tomato with one hand. Insert a small, sharp paring knife into the tomato, next to the stem and just outside the core. Hold the knife steady while cutting. Point the knife at an angle towards the centre of the tomato and create a full circle by rotating the tomato as you cut around the stem to form a hollow cavity. Remove the core with the end of the knife. Use the cored tomato for stuffing or use as desired.
Wash the tomatoes thoroughly under cold water. With a sharp knife, halve tomato crosswise. To make any stuffed dish, use a rounded spoon handle, scoop out any remaining seeds.
Place the tomato vertically lengthwise into half. Cut each half piece into half again lengthwise to get four equal quarters. Use quartered tomatoes in salads, stir fried vegetables, pastas, soups like rasam etc.
How to Select Tomatoes
Select Tomatoes that are round, full and feel heavy for their size, smooth skinned with no wrinkles, cracks, bruises or soft spots. They should not have a puffy appearance since this indicates that they will be of inferior flavor and will cause excess waste during preparation. Ripe tomatoes will yield to slight pressure and will have a noticeably sweet fragrance. The skin should be firm and not shriveled. Choose tomatoes that have a deep rich color. Not only is this one of the signs of a delicious tasting tomato, but the deep color also indicates that it has a greater supply of the health-promoting phytonutrient red pigment, lycopene.
11 Uses of Tomatoes 1. Due to the freshness and slight acidity of the tomatoes, they can be eaten uncooked as well as cooked.
2. Uncooked or fresh tomatoes are used in salads as slices or chopped. It is also used to make uncooked salsa, Bruschetta, street food like sandwiches, sev puri, chaat and many other recipes. A classic Italian recipe is to serve raw tomatoes with mozzarella and drizzled with olive oil.
3. Tomatoes can be used in a puree form or a paste form. Tomato puree can be made by pureeing either blanched or raw tomatoes. This puree is used in various kinds of subzis, pasta, and sometimes even to make pulaos. Paneer Makhani is the one of the best examples to portray how tomato puree is used in Indian Subzis.
4. Condiments are a great way to utilize tomatoes. One of the most common condiments made with tomatoes is Tomato Ketchup and the uses of ketchup are endless. I can be used as a dipping sauce with fries, as a spread in sandwiches, wraps and rolls and also use it as an ingredient to make other sauces for various indo-chinese recipes.
5. Combine chopped onions, tomatoes, and chili peppers for an easy to make salsa dip. Other sauces/dips that are made with tomatoes are south Indian Malgapodi and tomato chutney, Italian pizza and pasta sauce and a basic tomato chutney.
6. Plain tomato juice is used to make a variety of cocktails and mocktails like bloody mary.
7. Diced and chopped tomatoes are used in different types suzis but also in a lot of rice dishes to give them a juicy, slightly tangy taste like in Vegetable Biryani and Tomato Pulao.
8. Tomatoes are a great addition to bean and vegetable soups. Whether it is a classic soup like tomato or a more Carrot and Bell pepper soup, it provides a completely different flavor profile to it.
9. Scooping out the flesh of the tomatoes and filling the cavity with a variety of fillings, may it be different types of herbs or paneer and assorted veggies like Baked Stuffed Tomatoes
10. Processed tomato products can be added to spaghetti sauce, stews or chilli, baked beans and quite a few Mexican dishes as well.
11. Herbs that marry well with tomatoes include basil, oregano, marjoram, pepper, dill weed, thyme, garlic, bay leaf, celery seed, sesame seed, tarragon, chives, and parsley.
How to Store Tomatoes
Since tomatoes are sensitive to cold, and it will impede their ripening process, store them at room temperature and out of direct exposure to sunlight. They will keep for up to a week, depending upon how ripe they are when purchased.
To hasten the ripening process, place them in a paper bag with a banana or apple since the ethylene gas that these fruits emit will increase the tomato's maturation. If the tomatoes begin to become overripe, but you are not yet ready to eat them, place them in the refrigerator where they will keep for more days. Removing them from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before using will help them to regain their maximum flavor and juiciness. Store fresh ripe tomatoes in a cool, dark place, stem-side down, and use within a few days.
Nutritional Information of Tomatoes
1 cup chopped Tomatoes
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Nutritional Information for 150 grams of chopped Tomatoes.
1.38 grams of Protein
5.54 grams of Carbs
0.30 grams of Fat
41.5 mg of Vitamin C = 103% of RDA ( about 40 mg per day)
Full nutritional details of tomatoes here.
13 Amazing Healthy Benefits of Tomatoes + Healthy Recipes
Juicy, pulpy, bright-red tomatoes are now available year-round, though the tomatoes are best when they are in season from July to September. They are available in endless varieties viz. small cherry tomatoes, bright yellow tomatoes, Italian pear-shaped tomatoes, and the green tomato forming an integral part of cuisines across the globe.
1. Powerful Antioxidant:
Tomatoes are extremely rich source of Lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant which scavenges the free radicals that causes cellular inflammation. Inflammation is the major cause of all the diseases. When one thinks of Tomatoes, only Lycopene comes to mind. Lycopene in the blood may reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases and decrease cellular inflammation.
2. Get all your Vitamin C at one go:
Tomatoes are super rich in Vitamin C and provide maximum of your daily requirement in just one cup. Great to fight colds and coughs. Eat one or two raw tomatoes daily to get your vitamin C and also increase your iron absorption
3. Good for Heart:
The lycopene content in tomatoes prevents LDL oxidation and thus reduces the levels of LDL cholesterol and Triglycerides in the blood. These two components are the main cause of inflammation increasing cardiovascular disease risk. Tomatoes being fat and cholesterol free, is an ideal option to keep your heart healthy.
For complete 13 Amazing Healthy Benefits of Tomatoes read this article.