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Varieties

Q1.      What are the main varieties of tomatoes?

A1.      Classic tomatoes

These are the most common type available and vary in size according to the exact type and the time of the year.  They are generally quite acidic with a full flavour, so are excellent for cooking or eating raw.  For cooking, look for soft, ripe fruit and add a pinch or season to bring out the flavour.

            Seasonal availability: All year round.

            Uses: Sliced in salads, pies and quiches.

            To store: At room temperature.

            To prepare: Wash and cut into quarters, halves or slices.

 

            Baby plum tomatoes

            The tiniest of plum tomatoes available, and even smaller than cherry tomatoes-this sweet, oval shaped variety is
                     just perfect for eating as they are.

            Seasonal availability: All year round.

            Uses: Sliced in salads, pies and quiches.

            To store: At room temperature.

 

            Cherry tomatoes

These small, dainty cherry sized type are very sweet and a good choice for salads or for cooking whole.  They were once the prized treasures of gardeners but are   now widely available. Although they are more expensive than round or salad tomatoes.  Red, yellow, and orange varieties are available.

            Seasonal availability: All year round.

            Uses: In salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes.  Roasted cherry tomatoes are delicious accompaniment to
                     chicken or fish dishes.

            To store: At room temperature.

            To prepare: Wash and serve whole or halved.

           

            Cherry vine tomatoes

A sweet tomato matured on the vine for the best flavour.  Inside the fruit these are two cells packed with seeds in a tangy, sweet flavoured juice.  When ripe the fruit is a deep red colour and very firm.

            Seasonal availability: All year round.

            Uses: In salads, on pizzas or served simply with bread and cheese.

            To prepare: Keep the tomatoes on the vine until needed.

           

            Cocktail plum tomatoes

A sweet, tangy small version of the ever popular plum tomatoes - mid way in size between regular plum tomatoes and baby plum tomatoes.  Cocktail plum tomatoes are sold on the vine.

            Seasonal availability: All year round.

Uses: In salads, roasted or sliced and served with a selection of cured meats and cheese.                     

            To store: At room temperature.

 

            Green tomatoes

            Traditionally green tomatoes were unripe Ned tomatoes, which had a tangy, slightly acidic flavour. 
                     Ripe green tomatoes are also available now, they have a bright green flesh and subtle tang.

            Seasonal availability: All year round.

Uses: They add a splash of colour to salads and are also good in soups and sauces.

            To store: At room temperature.

            To prepare: Wash before use and slice, halve or quarter.

 

            Orange tomatoes

            Mid flavoured tomatoes with a sweet, delicate flavour and low in acidity.

            Seasonal availability: All year round.

Uses: They add a splash of colour to salads and are also good in soups and sauces.

            To store: At room temperature.

            To prepare: Wash before use and slice, halve or quarter.

 

            Plum tomatoes

Plum tomatoes are a deep red with a distinctive oval shape.  Richly flavoured with fewer seeds than round tomatoes, these are considered to be the best cooking tomatoes due to their concentrated flavour and high acidity.  Grown widely in Italy, they are available in a range of sizes and colours, but red plums are best for cooking.  They are the most popular variety for canning.

            Seasonal availability: All year round.

Uses: Their firm flesh makes them perfect for cooking, particularly Mediterranean dishes such as ratatouille and pasta sauces.

            To store: At room temperature.

            To prepare: Plum tomatoes can be eaten raw or cooked, with or without their skin. 

           

            Raff tomatoes           

A traditional large winter variety from southern Spain which are at their best when they are still tinged with green.  They are left to mature on the vine to develop the maximum taste and sweetness.

            Seasonal availability: November to March.

            Uses: Their large size makes Raff tomatoes ideal for slicing and stuffing.

            To store: At room temperature.

To prepare: Wash thoroughly in cold water.  For stuffing, slice top off tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and flesh using a teaspoon.

            To cook: Preheat the oven to 200șC, gas mark 6 and fill the prepared tomatoes with the stuffing of your choice
                     and bake for 15-20 minutes.

 

            Red choice tomatoes

These tomatoes have been selected and grown for the best flavour. Rich, red and slightly smaller than the standard tomatoes, they are aromatic and sweet with a    full, fruity, plumy flavour.

            Seasonal availability: English from April to October.

            Uses: They can be eaten raw in salads, cooked in soups, and sauces or roasted  with herbs. They can also be
                      used in pies, risottos, tarts and relishes.

            To store: Store at room temperature to bring out the flavour.

            To prepare: Slice, halve, quarter or roughly chop as necessary.

 

            Slicing or beef tomatoes

These are pumpkin shaped, large, ridged and deep red or orange in colour.  They have a good firm texture and a sweet, mellow flavour due to their low acidity.

            Seasonal availability: All year, English from June to September

Uses: Their size and shape make them excellent for slicing to use in sandwiches and salads, or for stuffing and baking whole.

            To store: Tomatoes are sub tropical fruits and should be store at room  temperature not in the fridge.

To prepare: Wash before use.  For a simple starter, slice thinly and sprinkle with olive oil and chopped basil, adding slices of mozzarella cheese if liked.  For baking, cut off a lid and scoop out the centre with a teaspoon.

 

Yellow tomatoes

            These have a sweet, slightly lemony, mild flavour and a lower acidity than red tomatoes. 

            Seasonal availability: All year.

            Uses: Yellow tomatoes should ideally be used in salads for their decorative quality, but also suitable for
                      cooking and are especially good in pickles and chutneys.

            To store: Keep at room temperature.

            To prepare: Wash before use and slice, halve or quarter.

 

Q2.      What is the percentage of UK consumption for each of the main varieties?

A2.      The UK consumption of these varieties are:

            Classic            77%    

            Cherry            10.3%

            Plum                7.5%

            Beef                1.25%

            Vine                1.8%

            Of these, 70% are harvested and marketed loose and 30% on the vine.

 

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