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Tomato Basics

Tomatoes have antioxidants for a healthy immune system

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  • Tomatoes are in season between July and September, so they taste great and cost less.
  • Look for tomatoes that are bright in color and have no darkened areas or bruises under the skin. They should feel firm (not soft) but give slightly when you press on them.
  • Canned tomatoes are usually low-cost and come in many forms: whole, crushed, diced, stewed, or as juice, sauce, or paste. Consider low-sodium options.
  • 1 pound of fresh tomatoes = about 2 1/2 cups chopped or 3 cups sliced

Types of Tomatoes

  • Red round tomatoes are the most common; size can vary from 2 inches across to much larger.
  • Cherry, grape, and pear tomatoes are small (bite-sized) with a variety of shapes and colors.
  • Heirloom tomatoes include many varieties from the past and have different colors, shapes, flavors, and sizes; they are most likely available at farm stands or farmers markets.

For a great on-the-go snack, try cherry, pear, or grape tomatoes!

Store Well Waste Less

  • Keep ripe whole tomatoes at room temperature in a single layer in an open container; avoid direct sunlight. Try to use within 5 days. Short refrigerator storage (3 days) can help delay softening but may also reduce flavor.
    • Refrigerate cut, cooked or opened canned tomatoes in a covered container. Use within 2 days.
  • Ripen tomatoes in a closed paper bag or plastic bag with holes. Hold at room temperature. Check daily.
  • Store unopened canned tomatoes in a cool, dry place and use within 8 to 12 months for best quality.
  • Freeze extra tomatoes:
    • Rinse tomatoes and remove the stem. Leave whole or chop.
    • Freeze in a tightly closed container or plastic bag. Label with the date.
    • Best when used in cooked dishes within 8 months.

Cooking with Tomatoes


Tomato Melt

Quick Tomato Pasta Sauce

Kids Can!

When kids help make healthy food, they are more likely to try it. Show kids how to:

  • rinse tomatoes by rubbing gently under cool running water.
  • spread cheese mixture on bread.
  • open cans safely to avoid sharp lid edges.
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