Are they a fruit? Are they a vegetable? Does it matter? Any way you slice 'em, tomatoes are packed with nutrients including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and lycopene, and more.
Tomatoes come in a rainbow of colours and some dieticians will recommend 'eating the rainbow' - which just means finding lots of fresh foods in a variety of colours to make sure you are getting a wide variety of nutrients. Buying (or growing your own) tomatoes of all different colours is so much fun.
Colour aside, there are over 10,000 varieties of tomatoes. Yes, you read that correctly! Don't worry, we won't list them all, but let's explore some of the more common ones and the suggested use for those varieties.
Large and sturdy enough to thinly slice for sandwiches, these are typically mild-tasting and sweet - but in Manitoba when they're fresh they are full of balanced yet supreme flavour. Though more watery than roma, they have enough 'beefy' flesh to make into a nice sauce. A perfect topping for summer burgers, such as our Bacon & Tomato Pork Burgers. Yum!
Also known as plum tomatoes, romas are tomatoes not usually large enough to be used for sandwiches or burgers. They are better in salads, but are also considered more 'meaty' - the perfect choice for blanching and canning whole or making sauces. Or try making our homemade Grilled Ketchup!
Bite-sized and delightfully round, these sweet and juicy little globes pleasantly pop when you bite them. A fresh, quality cherry tomato should have a thin skin and be satisfying to chew, not grainy.
They’re the perfect size for salads, snacking or fun appetizers, like skewers and kebabs. But if they've gone grainy or have a thick skin, cook them down for sauce and strain out the skins - or try roasting them for a quick and easy supper idea like you'll find in our Roasted Tomato Salad recipe.
From pale yellow to bright green to deep purplish-red, there are a huge variety of heirloom tomatoes that go by many names. They are not hybrids, but have been cultivated by saving seeds passed down for generations.
They are beautiful, fun, and can be prized for their deep, sweet, "different from the grocery store" taste profile. Perfect for eating raw with some simple additions like high quality EVOO, herbs & sea salt like in this Rustic Bruschetta with Heirloom Tomatoes.
Olive Oil & Lycopene
Remember to include a generous amount of EVOO when cooking down any your tomatoes for sauces. Studies show the addition of olive oil greatly increases the absorption of lycopene.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits, including sun protection, improved heart health and a lower risk of certain types of cancer.
We love how interesting food preparation can be and how it affects the foods we consume! While we greatly encourage consuming high quality EVOO raw for great health benefits, it's a different story when it comes to cooking down those tomatoes!
See below for two versions of tomato sauces to get you started!
And here are our top choices for roasting or simmering your tomatoes:
- Robust EVOO - or any of our Super Premium Olive Oil. Sometimes simple is best and the EVOO just shines with tomatoes and a lil' sea salt and pepper.
- Tuscan Herb Olive Oil - need we say more?
- Garlic Olive Oil - sometimes taste of roasted garlic can mellow a more acidic tomato
- Basil Olive Oil - you can't beat the aromatics of basil with tomato
- Pesto Olive Oil - dairy-free so it's safe for lactose-free dietary needs, there's a LOT going on in our Pesto Olive Oil that you (and your tomatoes) will LOVE