Nothing tastes better than fresh tomatoes that are truly vine-ripened. Although some tomatoes may be available year-round, vine-ripened tomatoes are only available during the summer growing season—or when grown in a local greenhouse.
Idaho’s farmers produce tomatoes primarily for local markets, which allow them to harvest their tomatoes when they are truly ripe. Idaho’s warm summer days and brisk cool nights allow the sugar to build inside the tomatoes and helps produce a sweet and juicy tomato. Tomatoes are also grown locally in greenhouses, which extends the season from early spring through late fall.
How to pick: Choosing the perfect tomato will call upon multiple senses. You’ll need to inspect, feel and smell your way to the perfect fruit. The best tomatoes are free of blemishes and bruises and should be a deep, bright red. A good tomato is firm enough to resist pressure, but not hard. Touch is also a good way to test heirloom tomatoes, which can be purple, lumpy, tiny or green even when ripe. And, the most flavorful tomato will have a fragrant smell. The sweet and earthy smell from the stem of the tomatoes will be a clear indicator that your taste buds will enjoy your selection.
How to store: One of the most common food storage mistakes is keeping tomatoes in the refrigerator. Cold temperatures can affect the flavor and texture of a tomato in a mater of days. Instead, store tomatoes in a bowl with stems up. Tomato stems are fragile, so if they are placed faced down, they are likely to bruise, which leads to rot. Keep tomatoes away from heat and direct sunlight. Tomatoes should keep for at least a week when stored this way.
Fresh Idaho tomatoes are delicious raw, sautéed, grilled, and stewed. Tomatoes are versatile and add great flavor to any recipe – so try a new tomato recipe today!