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Food glossary

Tomato

Tomato

Baby plum tomatoes

The tiniest type of plum tomatoes available, and even smaller than cherry tomatoes - this sweet, oval shaped variety is just perfect for eating as they are.

Uses: In salads, on kebabs or simply as they are.

To store: Keep at room temperature for the best flavour.

Cherry tomatoes

These small, dainty cherry-sized type are mouthwateringly sweet and a good choice for salads or for cooking whole. They were once the prized treasures of gardeners but are now widely available. Although they are more expensive than round or salad tomatoes, it's worth paying a little extra for the delicious flavour. Red, yellow and orange varieties are available.

Uses: In salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes. Roasted cherry tomatoes are a delicious accompaniment to chicken or fish dishes.

To store: For the best flavour, keep at room temperature and not in the fridge.

To prepare: Wash and serve whole or halved.

To cook: Roast cherry tomatoes in olive oil at 200°C, gas mark 6 for 10-15 minutes until they just begin to soften, sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to serve.

Cherry vine tomatoes

A sweet tomato matured on the vine for the best flavour. Inside the fruit there are two cells packed with seeds in a tangy, sweet-flavoured juice. When ripe the fruit is a deep red colour and very firm - so be careful not to get sprayed with pips as you bite! To release the tomato scent, lightly rub the vine with your thumb and first finger as you pick the fruit.

Uses: In salads, on pizzas or served simply with bread and cheese.

To store: Store at room temperature not in the fridge.

To prepare: Keep the tomatoes on the vine until needed, then pick as required.

Cocktail plum tomatoes

A sweet, tangy small version of the ever-popular plum tomatoes - mid way in size between regular plum tomatoes and baby plum tomatoes. Cocktail plum tomatoes are sold on the vine.

Uses: In salads, roasted or slices and served with a selection of cured meats and cheeses.

To store: Store at room temperature for the best flavour.

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Green tomatoes

Traditionally green tomatoes were unripened tomatoes, which had a tangy, slightly acidic flavour. Ripe green tomatoes are also available now, they have a bright green flesh and a subtle tang.

Uses: In salads, relishes and chutneys.

To store: Keep at room temperature.

To prepare: Wash before use and slice, halve or quarter.

Orange tomatoes

Mild-flavoured tomatoes with a sweet, delicate flavour and a low acidity.

Uses: They add a splash of colour to salads and are also good in soups and sauces.

To store: Keep at room temperature.

To prepare: Wash before use and slice, halve or quarter.

Plum tomatoes

Plum tomatoes are a deep red with a distinctive oval shape. Richly flavoured with fewer seeds than round tomatoes, these are considered to be the best cooking tomatoes due to their concentrated flavour and high acidity. Grown widely in Italy, they are available in a range of sizes and colours, but red plums are best for cooking. They are the most popular variety for canning.

Uses: Their firm flesh makes them perfect for cooking, particularly Mediterranean dishes such as ratatouille and pasta sauces.

To store: Keep the tomatoes at room temperature to bring out their full flavour. When ripe the calyx should be fresh and green and the scent should be fairly aromatic.

To prepare: Plum tomatoes can be eaten raw or cooked, with or without their skin. To skin, place them in a bowl of very hot water for 15 seconds and the skins will peel off easily.

Raff tomatoes

A traditional large winter variety from southern Spain which are at their best when they are still tinged with green. They are left to mature on the vine to develop the maximum taste and sweetness.Season-wise, these tomatoes can be found between November and March.

Uses: Their large size makes Raff tomatoes ideal for slicing and stuffing.

To store: For the best flavour, keep at room temperature and not in the fridge.

To prepare: Wash thoroughly in cold water. For stuffing, slice the top off the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and flesh using a teaspoon.

To cook: Preheat the oven to 200(C, gas mark 6 and fill the prepared tomatoes with the stuffing of your choice and bake for 15-20 minutes.

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Red choice tomatoes

These tomatoes have been selected and grown for the best flavour, which can be found between April and October. Rich, red and slightly smaller than standard tomatoes, they are aromatic and sweet with a full, fruity, plummy flavour.

Uses: They can be eaten raw in salads, cooked in soups, and sauces or roasted with herbs. They can also be used in pies, risottos, tarts and relishes.

To store: Store at room temperature to bring out the flavour.

To prepare: Slice, halve, quarter or roughly chop as necessary. To skin, place them in a bowl of very hot water for 15 seconds and the skins will peel off easily.

Round or salad tomatoes

These are the most common type available and vary in size according to the exact type and the time of year. They are generally quite acidic with a full flavour, so are excellent for cooking or eating raw. For cooking, look for soft, ripe fruit and add a pinch of sugar and season well to bring out the flavour.

Uses: Sliced in salads, pies and quiches.

To store: Keep at room temperature.

To prepare: Wash and cut into quarters, halves or slices.

Slicing or beef tomatoes

These are pumpkin-shaped, large, ridged and deep red or orange in colour. They have a good firm texture and a sweet, mellow flavour due to their low acidity,

Uses: Their size and shape make them excellent for slicing to use in sandwiches and salads, or for stuffing and baking whole.

To store: Tomatoes are sub-tropical fruits and should be stored at room temperature not in the fridge.

To prepare: Wash before use. For a simple starter, slice thinly and sprinkle with olive oil and chopped basil, adding slices of mozzarella cheese if liked. For baking, cut off a lid and scoop out the centre with a teaspoon.

Yellow tomatoes

These have a sweet, slightly lemony, mild flavour and a lower acidity than red tomatoes.

Uses: Yellow tomatoes should ideally be used in salads for their decorative quality, but are also suitable for cooking and are especially good in pickles and chutneys.

To store: Keep at room temperature.

To prepare: Wash before use and slice, halve or quarter.

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