Tomatoes

Tomatoes are native to South America and were originally grown for their decorative purposes.

The tomato is actually a fruit but is considered a vegetable because of its uses. They were affectionately known as pommes d’amour by the French, or apples of love. Today consumption of fresh and processed tomatoes is second to potatoes.

All New Zealand tomatoes are ripened on the vine which makes them tastier than some imported varieties.

Varieties

There is a large range of specialty and pre-packed tomatoes available. Most tomato varieties are of Dutch origin and are selected for flavour, quality, colour and size.

p tomatoes vineVine tomatoes

Tomatoes on the vine, or on the truss, are popular. Small, medium and large tomatoes are sold on the truss. There are many different vine varieties; as a general rule vine varieties have a very intense flavour.

p tomatoes cherryCherry tomatoes

These have a sweet intense flavour and are very popular with children. Several different varieties are on the market. Coloured red or yellow, the shape varies from round to oval to pear shaped. Small plum tomatoes are particularly sweet and higher in acid.

p tomatoes lowacidp tomatoes plumPlum, low acid and Roma tomatoes

These tomatoes are oval or plum shaped, have firmer flesh, fewer seeds and less juice than standard varieties, making them ideal for cooking. They come in differing shapes and sizes. Levels of acid vary with variety and no tomato is entirely acid free. Large plum varieties are often known as Roma.

p tomatoes outdoorOutdoor tomatoes

These make up a very small percentage (around 1%) of the total tomato crop and tend to be less firm than greenhouse- grown tomatoes. They have a lumpier and flatter shape and tend to be available from January to April.

What to look for

Choose smooth, firm and plump tomatoes with an even colour and no blemishes. For best flavour make sure the fruits are fully red.

Availability

All year.

Store

Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Tomatoes will ripen in these conditions. Do not refrigerate unless they are over ripe. Refrigerated tomatoes do not have the full flavour of tomatoes stored at room temperature.

How to prepare

Sometimes recipes suggest removal of the skin and seeds of the tomato for a very fine sauce, however this is not necessary for most dishes.

Ways to eat

Tomatoes are very versatile, they can be eaten raw as snacks, in salads and sandwiches. They can be used in soups, pizzas, omelettes, braises and stews. Tomatoes preserve well and are easily frozen and bottled, made into homemade sauces, chutneys, and dried or sundried. Tomatoes are complemented by many herbs, especially basil.

Cooking Methods

Boil, braise, barbecue/char grill, microwave, slow roast, stir fry.

Nutrition

TOMATOES
Raw
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 tomato - 127g
  Average
Quantity
per serving 
% Daily
intake per
serve 
Average
Quantity
per 100g 
 
Energy (kJ/Cal) 105/25 1% 83/20  
Protein (g) 1.0 2% 0.8  
Fat, total (g) 0.5 0.7% 0.4  
 - saturated (g) trace 0% trace  
Carbohydrate (g) 3.4 1% 2.7  
 - sugars (g) 3.4 4% 2.7  
Dietary fibre (g) 1.5 5% 1.2  
Sodium (mg) 1 0% 1  
Vitamin C (mg) 30.5 76% RDI* 24.0 A good source of vitamin C
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 117 16% RDI* 92 A source of vitamin A Equiv.
Niacin (mg) 1.3 13% RDI* 1.0 A source of niacin 
Potassium (mg) 305   240 Contains potassium
Vitamin E (mg) 0.98 10% RDI* 0.77 A source of vitamin E
Riboflavin (mg) trace 0% RDI* trace  

Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.
*Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014

 Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C and a source of vitamin A (from beta-carotene), niacin and vitamin E.  Tomatoes contain many different phytonutrients; the most well-known being the carotenoid lycopene, responsible for the red colour. It is of interest as it is found in few other foods and is being studied for a range of potential health benefits. Other carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, are also found together with phenolic acids and flavonoids.

Retailing

Provide a variety of degrees of ripeness to suit customers’ needs. Store at 10-12°C with a relative humidity of 90-98%. Lower temperatures can cause chilling damage.

Tomatoes are ethylene producing so store separately from ethylene sensitive produce.Build up displays to a maximum of two layers deep as tomatoes are highly perishable and susceptible to bruising.

Recipes

Slow roasted tomato salad
Slow roasted tomato salad

This salad makes the most of the intense tomato flavour of the slow roasted tomatoes. View Recipe

Cherry tomato salad
Cherry tomato salad

The bright green snow peas look great with red cherry tomatoes. This is a quick and easy salad. View Recipe

Bacon and egg salad
Bacon and egg salad

This will be a favourite for bacon and egg lovers. View Recipe

View more Recipes

Images

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