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Volume II
August 31, 2003

A Glossary Of Tomatoes And Uses

If my recipe calls for Roma, can I use Beefsteak? Use this glossary to answer your tomato queries.

Beefsteak tomato: Large and tasty, these tomatoes make great slicers. When a recipe calls for a slicing tomato, it's probably requesting a beefsteak. Great served cold, these can also be baked.

Canned tomatoes: Commercially or home processed, canned tomatoes are available in many forms (chopped, diced, peeled, whole, crushed, stewed). They work beautifully in sauces when fresh ones aren't available.

Cherry tomato: Like its name, this tomato is a perfect "cherry" size for garnishing, salads, quick sautes, or for a pop-in-the-mouth snack.

Chili sauce: a thick tomato puree with added sugar, vinegar, and other vegetables or herbs, used as a meat condiment, or in many recipes needing an extra flavor boost (i.e., meatloaf).

Dried tomatoes (sun-dried): Like all dried foods, these are highly concentrated in flavor and chewy. Dried tomatoes are either packed dry in cellophane to be reconstituted in hot liquids or packed in oil. Great for flavoring soups, sandwiches, stuffings, or pasta dishes, they also give body, when finely chopped, to sauces, functioning much like tomato paste. For a simple gourmet snack, slice them into small strips, layer them with cheese on your favorite bread, and broil until cheese is melted. You can also marinate them, after reconstituting, for a unique appetizer.

Globe tomato: Another good slicer, this tomato is medium in size, firm, and juicy. It works well when used raw or when cooked.

Green tomato: Unripened tomatoes with a tart flavor, green tomatoes can be pickled, fried, made into relishes, jams, pies, breads, desserts, or baked in casseroles.

Passata: Canned sieved tomatoes that should be stored in the refrigerator. Makes a great base for soups and sauces, especially when paired with canned tomatoes and tomato paste.

Pear tomato: Pear-shaped and available in yellow, red, or orange colors; used like the cherry tomato.

Plum tomato (Roma or Italian): More meaty and less juice makes plum tomatoes perfect for quick-cooking sauces . . . less juice to simmer away. Egg shaped and flavorful, these are the tomatoes of choice in authentic Italian cookery.

Salsa: Canned or fresh, salsa is a favorite Mexican spicy condiment. Freshly made or canned using tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, and other herbs, peppers, spices, or juice (cilantro, green peppers, lime juice), it's a great companion when served alone with tortilla chips. Additionally, salsa is finding its way into simple-to-prepare soups and casseroles when a Mexican kick is desired.

Stewed tomatoes: Canned tomatoes which have been cooked with onions, celery, green peppers, sugar, and spices for added flavor.

Tomatillo: A green husked tomato-like fruit used in guacomole, green salsa, salads, or fresh salsas.

Tomato juice: Base for soups, casseroles, and beverages, tomato juice is cooked for a short time from fresh tomatoes before being pureed, strained and bottled or canned.

Tomato ketchup: A thick, spicy or sweet tomato-based condiment often served with meat or used to flavor soups or casseroles.

Tomato paste: Concentrated tomatoes, that have cooked for hours before straining. Paste is used to thicken and fortify sauces and soups or stews. It can also be an intense flavor booster when spread thinly on bread or used as a pizza topping.

Tomato puree: Another great base for pasta sauces, puree is a thick liquid made from tomatoes that have been cooked for a short time and strained.

Tomato sauce: A thinner version of tomato puree, tomato sauce is a quick solution to fast pasta or pizza sauce, when herbs and onions or garlic are added and the sauce is heated to blend the flavors; an oft requested ingredient in soups, stews, and casseroles.

* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *

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