In season | Tomatoes

By
The Editor
Added
05 March, 2014

A bowl of fresh tomatoes are a delight on any kitchen table. Juicy and sweet, a tomato at the height of the season has a richness and depth of flavour that is unparalleled.

Tomato season means vines hanging from balconies and tall plants bowed under the weight of fruit in backyard plots – you can grow tomatoes with surprisingly little space – not to mention the endless heirloom varieties and colourful tomato medleys on offer at your local market. Make use of hese colours – yellow, green, orange, red and even black – with simple salads that make tomatoes the star ingredient. 

Keep tomatoes at room temperature if you’re planning on using them fresh, or store them in the fridge to prolong their life span a few days. If you’ve suddenly come into a lot of tomatoes, you might like to cook them up into a simple tomato sauce and seal in sterilised bottles to keep in the pantry for months.

Originally grown in South America, the tomato plant spread throughout the world after the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and now it’s hard to think of a cuisine that doesn’t make the most of tomatoes as a staple ingredient. Tomatoes are good for you in so many ways. Aside from being packed full of vitamins, tomatoes are also a great source of fibre and antioxidants. 

There are so many directions you can take a good tomato that it’s hard to choose just one. Lightly marinate them in balsamic for a stand-out bruschetta or throw them into a home-made passata or sofrito – both handy bases for Mediterranean dishes. Take your cue from the weather, on a hot day, start with a bloody Mary and go for refreshing dishes like gazpacho or a simple, fresh salad. For heartier fare, try stuffing tomatoes with lamb mince, or slow-roasting with thyme until soft and caramelised.

Tomato pairs well with most flavours but it particularly loves soft herbs like basil, oregano and coriander; fresh cheeses like buffalo mozzarella and goat's curd; and the intense saltiness of olives, capers and anchovies.

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