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Although botanically a fruits tomatoes are more often used as vegetable.  Tomatoes are grown worldwide, there are many  varieties, in numerous sizes, shapes and colors, from the tiny cherry tomato to pear-shaped yellow tomatoes and the oval roma to name a few. Most varieties are red, although  others are yellow or pink. Unripe green tomatoes are used in pickles and chutneys.

The best flavor are those that are vine-ripened. For immediate use tomatoes should be firm and bright colored, with no wrinkles.

Tomatoes need to be purchased for the purpose for which they are intended on the recipe or menu. Always choose smooth, well-formed tomatoes that are heavy for their size for sandwiches, salads, buffets and presentation work.  Sound ripe tomatoes will be suitable for cooking. 

Pale red tomatoes can be left to ripen naturally in your kitchen windowsill.  Tomatoes will not ripen if left in the fridge.  It is recommended that tomatoes be bought as 'pinks' a few days in advance of requirements and allowed to ripen at room temperature in the kitchen.  This will avoid bruising and allow the ripest tomatoes to be used first. 


  • CHERRY  -Come in various sizes but essentially are a tiny variety tomato. Some are red, others are yellow and some are pear-shaped and yellow.  Good for salads or used whole or halved in stew and pasta sauces.
  • PLUM (Roma) -Commercially used for canning and drying.  They have few seeds and a dry flesh which make them ideal in sauces and purees. 
  • BEEF STEAK -These are larger tomatoes, either smooth and rounded or more irregular and ridged. Can be used for stuffing or in salads.
  • ROUND -The most common tomato, commercially bred to be round and red. Can be bought vine-ripened or on the vine, an all-purpose tomato.     


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