Ah, summer. June through September is a tomato lollapalooza. But once the season is over, all bets are off.
What’s a tomato lover to do?
Think small. Tiny yet mighty cherry or grape tomatoes are the sweet antidote to pale supermarket ‘maters that are picked green and ripened off the vine. Look for red, orange, or yellow gems that are smooth, plump, and unwrinkled. A big brand: Sunset.
Sunset also markets Sweet Bites, Flavor Bombs, and Sugar Bombs–extra-sweet cherry and grape tomatoes that are still on the vine. (Tomatoes that have no stem can lose moisture through the top, so they’re less juicy.)
For slightly larger tomatoes, try Mini Kumatos, Campari, or cocktail.
Keep whole tomatoes on the counter top, not in the fridge. Cold temps not only slow ripening (and turn flesh mealy), but can also sap flavor. The good news: cold does the least damage to cherry or grape tomatoes, which are sold ripe. So if you’re not going to use them soon, go ahead; toss ’em in the fridge.
Both make the perfect year-round snack, with just 25 measly calories per cup. And tomatoes have plenty of vitamin C, plus a decent dose of vitamin A and potassium.
Have any tomatoes that are about to pass their prime? Start smacking your lips. Saute or roast them (see Dish of the Month), then toss with beans or whole wheat pasta or other grains. To-mmm-ato.