There’s probably no fruit or vegetable more eagerly awaited than a juicy, ripe summer tomato. Here are some popular varieties available, along with tips on the best tomato to choose for different purposes.
Beefsteaks – Beefsteaks are the big daddy of the tomato kingdom; as their name suggests, they’re the sturdiest, meatiest tomato on the block. Choose beefsteaks if you’re looking for big, thick slices that can stand up to your summer burger (and be large enough to cover the bun).
Cherry and grape tomatoes – Cherry and grape varieties offer sweet bursts of flavor in bite-sized packages. Broil cherry tomatoes and stir in chopped basil for a quick pasta sauce, or pack grape tomatoes as a healthy on-the-go snack.
Romas – Oval-shaped Romas are the tomatoes to select for sauces or other cooked dishes. They are fleshier and contain less water, resulting in thicker, richer sauces. Romas are also a great choice for topping pizza or bruschetta.
Tomatoes on the vine – Tomatoes harvested on the vine tend to have a fuller flavor and a deeper red color, indicating a riper fruit. Use these small, juicy tomatoes in salads or sandwiches.
Heirloom varieties – Colorful displays of heirloom tomatoes, in hues from bright yellow to dark purplish-green, are now a common sight in many markets. “Heirloom” refers to the fact that these are old varieties that have not been bred for traits such as pest resistance or sturdiness. Because of this, these tomatoes tend to be delicate and sell at a premium price, but their exquisite taste can be worth the splurge. Prepare them as simply as possible to fully appreciate their unique flavors.