There is nothing quite like taking a bite out of the first tomato from the field. Nothing symbolizes summer and the early fall quite like the tomato.

The tomato is originally native to the western side of South America, in the region occupied by Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the western half of Bolivia. One species, Solanum lycopersicum, was transported to Mexico where it was thought to have been cultivated by the Aztecs. The word "tomato" may actually originate from the Nahautl (Aztecan) word "tomatl " meaning "the swelling fruit." Botanically speaking, tomato is not only a fruit, but also a berry since it is formed from a single ovary. The Spanish brought it back to Europe with the first written account occurring in 1544. It is perennial in its native habitat and tends to vine over other plants if left untended.

Canning and freezing them when they are plentiful is a great way to bring a little taste of summer all winter long.


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Availability may vary by variety and with weather conditions.

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Storage Tips

  • Tomatoes are sensitive to cold, and it will impede their ripening process, store them at room temperature and out of direct exposure to sunlight.

  • They will keep for up to a week

  • To speed up the ripening process, place them in a paper bag with a banana or apple

  • Whole tomatoes, chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce freeze well for future use in cooked dishes.

  • Sun-dried tomatoes should be stored in an airtight container, with or without olive oil, in a cool dry place.

Preparation Tips

  • Before serving, wash tomatoes under cool running water and pat dry

  • Use the whole tomato, flesh, seeds and skins, whenever possible to get the most nutritional benefit since there are large amount of nutrients in the seeds and skins.

  • Tomatoes are a great addition to bean and vegetable soups.

  • Salsas are a good option and freeze well.

  • Great for cold salads (see our recipe above) and soups such as gazpacho

  • My favorite way is sliced and lightly salted with peanut butter (creamy is best) on toast. Don't knock it until you try it!