You Say Tomato, I Say “What Type?”
Happy tomato season, y’all! We’ll be changing up the way we introduce spotlight ingredients a bit. I tend to scratch the surface of each ingredient in these bi-weekly ingredient rundowns, talking a little about variations, seasonality, etc etc. But I want us to get deep into the weeds of things and to really get into a single aspect of the ingredient we’re exploring. And since there are roughly a gazillion varieties of tomatoes out there, I thought today we could go over some of the common types of tomatoes before diving into the recipes later this week.
Cherry and grape tomatoes
This variety is sweet and small. They grow in clusters and are pretty easy to grow, being both disease and drought resistant. Perfect for starting your own home garden!
The classic tomato! These are 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 cm) wide with a more tart, acidic taste. They’re perfect for slicing and eating raw, but can also be cooked into sauce (though they may need more cooking time to evaporate all their juices).
These guys are big and heavy, with a meaty texture. Their big size makes them perfect for adding to sandwiches or slices and stacking with mozzarella and basil (hellooo caprese!)
Otherwise know as paste tomatoes, these are perfect for making into sauce or topping pizza because of their low moisture content. They’re sweet, firm, and have fewer seeds.
Hybrid vs Heirloom
All the different varieties can generally be classified into two types of tomatoes: hybrid and heirloom. Hybrid types of tomatoes are a cross between different varieties. They’re often bred to yield more or be resistant to pests and such. On the other side of the spectrum are heirloom tomatoes, which are the most pure. They are often grown and sold locally because they aren’t bred to be resistant to transportation and long shelf lives.
Determinate vs Indeterminate
If you want to get into the gardening of tomatoes, this classification will be an important one. Determinate tomato plants are more compact and bush-like, bearing fruit all at once then dying. Indeterminate tomatoes plants grow in a vine and can bear fruit for a longer time, only stopping when you cut them or the weather becomes cold.
Tomato Nutrition Information
per 1 cup cherry tomatoes (150 g)
- Calories: 27
- Carbohydrates: 6 g
- Fiber: 2 g, 7% Daily Value (DV)
- Protein: 1 g
- Fat: 0 g
- 32% DV of Vitamin C: A water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant to fight against potentially damaging free radicals (molecules with unshared electrons that float around wreaking havoc) and an important cofactor in collagen synthesis.
- 25% DV of Vitamin A: Provides the provitamin version of this fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it comes from a plant source and your body converts the plant pigment into active Vitamin A. It is essential in many components of healthy vision, as well as immunity and cell growth/differentiation.
- 15% DV of Vitamin K: A fat-soluble vitamin that allows for activation of enzymes in the clotting cascade, which is responsible for blood clotting. Also builds bone by modifying osteocalcin so that it may bind calcium, thus building the bone matrix.