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In Season: Tomatoes

Everyday Food, September 2010

The Basics

The end of summer means a bonanza of tomatoes. Common varieties include red and yellow cherry and grape tomatoes and juicy beefsteaks and plums (Roma). Check your farmers' market for pretty and flavorful heirloom (nonhybrid) varieties.

Buying and Storing

Ripe tomatoes will smell sweet and fruity. Choose plump, shiny ones that are heavy for their size and give slightly when gently pressed. They should be free of soft spots or blemishes, although imperfect tomatoes are a good choice for sauces (and cheaper, too). Store tomatoes in a single layer at room temperature and away from direct light. Once cut, wrap with plastic and refrigerate.

To Use and Cook

Eaten raw, roasted, fried, or broiled, tomatoes of all types pair well with simple flavors, like olive oil and salt, herbs such as basil and cilantro, and fresh mild cheeses such as mozzarella and ricotta. Nothing beats a BLT or burger with sliced beefsteaks, and plums are great for soups or sauces. Freeze extra tomatoes for fresh flavor all year.

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