Though they are nearly always red, somewhat round, and often juicy on the inside, there is an art to choosing the right tomato for a particular dish. To the untrained eye, they may all look alike, but the world of tomatoes is as diverse as it is delicious. Plum, Beefsteak, Cherry, Grape, and Campari are just a handful of tomato varieties. However, these five types are celebrities of the tomato world. They are the most common, and they are probably all sitting in your local grocery store right now.
So how will you know which tomato to choose during your next shopping trip? We'll go over these five varieties to let you know a little more about each.
These tomatoes can be recognized by their shape. They are oval in shape, and medium sizes as tomatoes go, ranging in size from 2 to 4 inches tall. Plum tomatoes have a mild acidity, but a robust flavor, and due to their low moisture content, they are perfect for making sauces, salsas, and tomato pastes. While they are used mostly in cooking, they can also be enjoyed fresh.
As the name indicates, these tomatoes are quite beefy in size, as well as in texture. Beefsteak tomatoes can grow several inches wide, and have a delicious flavor that is perfect for sandwiches, salads, and pizzas. During the summer, these enormous tomatoes peak, and become available in a dizzying number of heirloom varieties, all boasting extra flavor. Try slicing Beefsteak Tomatoes and sprinkling them with sugar for a simple summer snack.
Cherry Tomatoes are easy to spot. These little guys are usually around 1 - 2 inches wide, and are perfectly round. They have a very tart, almost sour taste, and are bursting with juice. Cherry Tomatoes are perfect for salads, but are also popular for use in appetizers. By slicing the cap off of a Cherry Tomato and removing its seeds, you create a tasty, bite sized cup that can be stuffed with your favorite filling.
Like Cherry Tomatoes, Grape Tomatoes are very small. These have an oval shape, and an extra sweet flavor, making them a great match for salads that contain salty ingredients such as cheese or olives. Being the perfect size for snacking, Grape Tomatoes also make a great addition to lunch boxes or veggie platters.
This variety of tomato is similar in appearance to Cherry Tomatoes, only they are slightly larger. They are treasured for their sweetness and juicy texture, and are often served fresh over salads, mozzarella, or specialty meats. Campari Tomatoes can also be used in cooking, when the high sugar content is desired. Campari tomatoes make superb bruschetta, as they pair wonderfully with basil and garlic.
So which Tomato reigns supreme? Do you have a favorite? If so, let me know in the comments below.