Tomatoes

Tomatoes

General Information: Dozens of tomato varieties are available throughout the year in Swiss markets, beginning in early Spring and lasting through the early Fall. This means, there is rarely a reason to eat tomatoes which are mass produced in hot houses. Some of the more common varieties found in Switzerland throughout the year include:

Beefsteak (Fleischtomate) Large, bright-red and slightly elliptical. Excellent eaten raw or cooked. Optimal season to purchase is from June to September.

Kugeltomate Medium-sized, round and firm. Very juicy and best when cooked. Optimal season to purchase is from June to September.

Plum Tomatoes (Peretti or Pelati) Also known as San Marzano. Egg-Shaped red or yellow tomato. Excellent flavor.

Green Tomatoes (Grüne Tomate) Good raw or cooked, and excellent to preserve. Optimal purchasing season is from August to October.

Cherry Tomatoes (Cherry-Tomate) Usually round and medium-sized. Piquant flavor and high in acid. Good for frying, broiling or adding to relishes. Optimal purchasing season is March to May.

Pachino Fragrant, sweet winter tomato from a small province n Sicily. They range in size from cherry to medium. Early season Pachino varieties are often green, and have more acid. Available from February mid-May.

Sardo (Sarde) Small- to medium-sized round tomato from Sardinia. Available in the early season from March to June. The green and red varieties are high in acid and very full in flavor.

Berner Rose A special Swiss variety available for only a few weeks in July and August. They are large, pinkish-red round tomatoes. They are incredibly sweet and should be eaten raw.

Ponderosa Large meaty tomato with high amounts of acid and highly flavorful. Available from July through September.

Season:  Fresh tomatoes from Italy beginning showing up in the market in late February. The optimal purchasing months are from March through October.

Purchasing Tips: For all tomato varieties, the most succulent and flavorful are those that are ‘vine-ripened.’ Unfortunately, vine-ripened tomatoes are also highly perishable, which is why supermarkets almost always carry tomatoes that have been picked green and ripened with ethylene gas or in special warming rooms. These artificially ripened tomatoes never have the texture, aroma and taste of the vine-ripened fruits. When buying tomatoes at the market, always choose firm, well-shaped tomatoes that are noticeably fragrant and bright colored. They should be free of blemishes, heavy for their size, and give slightly to palm pressure.

Storage: Ripe tomatoes should be stored at room temperature and used within a few days. They should never be refrigerated because the cold temperatures will make the flesh pulpy and diminish the flavor.

Cooking Tips: Tomatoes can be prepared in many ways. Green tomatoes and those high in acid are generally cooked. Sweet and fragrant tomatoes are generally eaten raw.

Nutritional Info: Tomatoes are rich in vitamin A & C. The highest concentration of vitamin C is found in the jellylike substance which surrounds the seeds.

 

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