Tomatoes can be pretty lack luster. Often picked before they are ripe or stored in refrigerators which take away their flavor, by the time they make it to your plate, they don’t taste like much. Enter: our search for something different.
During our search, we learned a lot. Mainly, that tasty tomatoes aren’t available all-year round. They should only be consumed when you can buy them local, organic and fresh. If you don’t have local, fresh tomatoes, buy them canned from reliable sources (listed below). And most importantly, get heirlooms if you can find them. Heirloom tomatoes are the original tomato (before they were breed to be perfect looking), so they have much more flavor.
A brief history:
The tomato is native to western South America and Central America. Native versions were small, like cherry tomatoes, and most likely yellow rather than red. Aztecs used tomatoes in their cooking and by 500 BC, tomatoes were already being cultivated in southern Mexico, and probably other areas.
Tomatoes then traveled to Spain, Italy and Britain (possibly on Christopher Columbus’ boat!)
In North America, tomatoes were bred to be more stable. Alexander W. Livingston was the first person who succeeded in upgrading the wild tomato, developing different breeds. In 1870, Alexander introduced the Paragon, a smoother, uniform tomato and tomato culture soon became a great enterprise in the county. Today, these uniform tomatoes are what we are most familiar with.
Tomato brands we love:
Bhumi Farms Organic, $10, available here.
Cento San Marzano Peeled Organic Peeled, $24 for a case of four 28-oz. cans, available here.
Muir Glen Organic Whole Peeled, $8 for two 28-oz. cans, available here.
Bella Terra Organic Italian Whole Peeled, $33 for twelve 28-oz. cans, available here.
The best recipes to use with your favorite tomatoes:
Sun Gold Spaghetti, the perfect compromise between a hint of tomato and drowning in pasta sauce.
Tomato Tart, very do-able, yet very impressive.
Summer Burrata, heirloom tomato and creamy nectarine heaven.
Ricotta Honey Toast, topped with fresh cherry tomatoes and a spring of thyme.
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