Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Know What Tomato to Use for That Dish


Tomatoes to Use Fresh
Beefsteak tomatoes fit nicely in sandwiches.
Beefsteak tomatoes fit nicely in sandwiches.
©iStockphoto.com/typhoonski

Tomatoes for uncooked recipes should be easy to work with, sweet on the tongue, and look pretty on the plate. They should be juicy yet firm, having a high flesh-to-seed-and-jelly ratio. Choose those that are thin-skinned and bright in color -- which is not always red. Local growers might offer heirlooms -- older strains, traditional to particular regions -- ranging in color from eggshell to maroon.

Which varieties fit the bill? One popular choice is beefsteak, named for its meaty, raw-steak red flesh. (A pale yellow heirloom, on the other hand, is nicknamed pork chop.) Beefsteaks are conveniently sandwich-sized. A single slice might span an entire hamburger bun or Kaiser roll.

If you're thinking small, consider cherry tomatoes. Half-inch varieties are attractive in salads; one and a half-inch monsters are ideal for appetizers. Most are round and red as their namesake, but farmers markets might offer a mix-and-match of red and gold, round and pear-shaped.


More to Explore