How to select for best flavor:
Ripe tomatoes are red and firm. Avoid split or spongy tomatoes. Soft tomatoes are fine for cooking. Tomatoes ripen from the inside out, so if you don’t like tomatoes that are very ripe, choose fruit that are light pink in color. The center will be riper, but the tomato won’t be overripe.
Peak of the season:
Tomatoes are available all year round, if you are willing to pay the price. May through August is the season for tomatoes, and prices are better then. Local tomatoes nearly always have a better flavor, so the best season in your area will vary.
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins A and C, while they also supply potassium and small amounts of vitamin B complex. One tomato provides about 25 calories, traces of fat and 10 mgs. of sodium and no cholesterol. Remember, cooking a tomato reduces the vitamin C content.
Firm, pink tomatoes ripen well at room temperature. After they are ripe, they should be refrigerated. Tomatoes grown outside and ripened on the vine have much better flavor than greenhouse tomatoes. If you have a source of locally grown tomatoes, that is the best place to get them. Of course, you will not be able to buy them all year.
A whole book could be written just about the tomato. They are native of Mexico, but after they were introduced into Europe, they revolutionized the cuisines of France, Spain and Italy. For many years they were thought to be poison because they are a member of the nightshade family. Even today, some people believe that tomatoes aggravate arthritis. Often people who are allergic to raw tomatoes can eat them cooked.