These bite-sized beauties are bursting with the fresh, sweet flavor of summer.
The round, bite-sized tomatoes of this variety are typically an inch or less in diameter and bright red or yellow-gold in color. Bred to be sweet in flavor, they're often eaten raw, tossed with salads or used as garnish. Cooked, they make a delicious side dish when lightly sautéed with fresh herbs.
There are many different types of cherry tomatoes, but the most popular are called Sweet 100s. These beauties are known for their exceptional sweetness. Other types include Sungolds, Mini Charms, Grape and on-the-vine cluster tomatoes. Clusters are left attached to the vine so they continue to draw moisture and nutrients for several days after harvesting. These are super fresh and flavorful, and therefore higher in price as well.
Fresh tomatoes are available year-round, but they're most plentiful and flavorful at the end of summer. Cherry tomatoes are typically sold in pints and you should look for packages that contain plump, brightly colored tomatoes with smooth skins. Avoid shriveled tomatoes with blemishes or cracks. When it comes to color, orange or yellow varieties are novel, but they're less acidic and less flavorful. Use these for garnishing and stick to reds for eating.
Keep all tomatoes at room temperature and away from sunlight. (Storing them in the refrigerator will make them pulpy and dull in flavor.) Use ripe tomatoes within two to three days.
Cherry tomatoes make an easy and elegant appetizer when stuffed with filling. Simply slice off the top of the tomato and use a small teaspoon or melon baller to scoop out the inside. Then stuff with your favorite cheese spread or dip.
Fresh tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and lycopene, a carotenoid that may fight cancer and heart disease. Your body absorbs more lycopene from tomatoes that are cooked, so go ahead and drizzle some olive oil in a skillet and sauté your cherry tomatoes until they start to pop (about three minutes). Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt, pepper, fresh basil or Parmesan cheese.
Try one of our favorite cherry tomato recipes:
Bow Ties with Pesto, Feta and Cherry Tomatoes
Tuna Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
Bruschetta with Warm Tomatoes
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