Tomatoes actually originate in western South American, in a region spanning across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Bolivia. The tomato, however, was first cultivated in Mexico, before Spanish explorers brought seeds back to Spain in the 1500s. From there, tomato cultivation spread across Europe, including to Italy, which is closely associated with the tomato today.
However, the vegetable wasn’t popular right away! Europeans held a slight disdain for it due to its association as a nightshade plant, worrying it to be poisonous.
Today, tomatoes are cultivated worldwide, and about 130 million tons are produced per year. The largest producer of tomatoes is China.
Round: good for slicing and eating raw; they are medium-sized and globe-shaped.
Plum: small, plum-shaped with thick flesh; they are good for preserving, sauces, or salads.
Beefsteak: small to large, but flatter and fleshier than the round tomato; good for both cooking and eating raw.
Common Ontario field varieties:
- Pik Rite
- Mountain Pride
- Red Star
Select tomatoes that are rich in colour, whether that is red, orange, yellow, or purple.
To hasten ripening, place a tomato in a brown paper bag with apples, pears or bananas. The ethylene gas will speed up the tomato’s maturation.
Overripe tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator, in a high humidity drawer or the butter compartment, to keep them for an additional day or two.
Whole, chopped, and tomato sauce can be frozen for future use.
To slice tomatoes, slice from the stem end to bottom. This will keep the juice better than slicing horziontally.
To peel, dip the tomato in boiling water for 10 to 30 seconds, using a fork to pierce the stem end. Submerge in cold water, and when cool enough, gently loosen the skin with a knife tip and peel.
To seed, halve the tomatoes horizontally and gently squeeze the seeds out. Keep in mind though, the seeds are high in nutrients as well and may be worth keeping in the dish!
Avoid cooking tomatoes with aluminum cookware, as the high acid content of tomatoes may react with the metal.
- Armenian Eetch
- Asparagus & Tomato Frittata with Gruyere Cheese
- Kenyan Githeri
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Taiwanese Beef Noodles
- Tomato Basil Bruschetta
- Beet and Tomato Salad
- Buffalo Mozzarella, Vine Ripe Tomato and Basil Sandwich
- Chicago-Style Hot Dog
- Chicken Pita
- Chickpea, Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad
- Greek Gigantes Plaki
- Greek Pulse Salad
- Greek Salad Pasta
- Kale Summer Salad
- Peach Caprese Salad
- Turkey Hummus Spinach Wraps
- Hopi Corn Stew
- Linguine Arrabbiata
- Linguine with Basil, Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Mexican Vegetarian Lasagna
- Pulse Chili
- Quinoa and Roasted Pepper Chili
- Red Lentil & Kale Soup
- Ricotta Gnocchi with Rose Basil Sauce
- Slow-Cooker Chipotle Shredded Beef
- Slow-Cooker Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Stew
- Slow-Cooker White-Bean and Sausage Stew
- Spaghetti Bolognese
- Stuffed Roasted Peppers with Lentils, Beef & Mushrooms
- Sweet Potato Curry with Spinach and Chickpeas
- Tuscan Bean and Vegetable Soup
- Breakfast Sandwich
- Cucumber & Black Bean Salsa Salad
- Marinated Veggie Kebabs
- Zesty Fiesta Pasta Salad
|Field: July to October|
|Greenhouse: March to November|
Nutrition per 1 tomato (123 g), raw:
|Total Sugar||3 g|
|Total Dietary Fibre||1.5 g|
|Vitamin C||16 mg|
Provided by Health Canada