Botanically speaking the tomato is a fruit. We consume the tomato primarily as a vegetable. That means tomatoes are usually found in savory dishes. Tomatoes are consumed raw, cooked in sauces, soups, as part of a sandwich, and salads. Occasionally, tomatoes are used to make jams and preserves.
When most of us think of tomatoes, we think of the basic red or maybe the cherry or grape tomato. There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes. They range in color from green, to yellow, to orange, to red and probably a few others.
- Most tomatoes found in the grocery store are referred to as “slicing” or “globe”.
- Beefsteak tomatoes are large and are often used for sandwiches. Although these are grown by home gardeners, they are found less frequently in commercial use.
- Plum or paste tomatoes have a higher solids content and are good for sauce.
- Cherry tomatoes are small and round. These are often sweet and generally eaten in salads.
- Grape tomatoes, the newest commercially available tomato, are small and oblong. They too are frequently used in salads.