Fresh tomatoes

How to select

Tomato skins should be bright in color and tight, with no wrinkles.  Tomatoes should also be firm to mostly firm when gently squeezed. The fruit should also be free of bruises, cracks or blemishes.

How to prepare

Rinse tomatoes under running water and pat dry. Tomatoes can be cut in several ways depending on the recipe (diced, wedged, sliced).

How to store

Tomatoes are best when stored at room temperature out of direct sunlight or in the refrigerator crisper in a plastic clamshell or paper bag. Tomatoes may be stored up to 5 days, but may have the best flavor when eaten within the first 3 days.

Peak season


Ways to use

  • Whip up gazpacho for a cool soup on a hot summer day. Finely dice fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, green onion, and green and/or red peppers. Add to tomato juice with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil and a splash of cider vinegar. Ingredients can be added to a blender and pulsed one or two times.
  • For a warmer option, bake tomatoes for a side dish.  Slice tomatoes about ½-inch thick. Sprinkle with seasoned breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° until tomatoes are almost soft.
  • Stuff a tomato with low-fat cottage cheese or with tuna, shrimp, or chicken salad. Use the pulp as part of the salad.
  • Quarter tomatoes and marinate with onion in your favorite low-fat vinaigrette. Add some sliced cucumber for some extra crunch.

Fun facts

  • Most tomato varieties are red although other colors are possible including green, yellow, orange, pink, black, brown, white, and purple.
  • There are more than 7500 tomato varieties grown around the world.
  • Tomatoes originated in the South American Andes around the area of modern-day Peru and was first used as a food by the Aztec's in Southern Mexico. Because the tomato has seeds and grows from a flowering plant, botanically it is classed as a fruit not a vegetable.
  • The biggest tomato fight in the world happens each year in the small Spanish town of Buñol. The festival called La Tomatina, involves some 40,000 people throwing 150,000 tomatoes at each other.

Nutrition info and facts

Tomatoes are high in antioxidants, which may help prevent heart disease and cancer. Tomatoes can contribute to heart health by lowering LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.

1 medium tomato = 22 calories, 1 g protein, 5 g carbs, 12 mg calcium, 14 mg magnesium, 30 mg phosphorus, 292 mg potassium, 17 mg vitamin C, 552 µg beta carotene.

Learn more

Growing tomatoes in home gardens (UMN Extension)

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FoodData Central. Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average. April 2018.