Cooking with tomatoes is easier if you know the differences between them. That way, you can use them for their given purposes because some of the tomato types were created to fulfill special needs.
Any tomato you eat adds more nutrients to your meal and improves the taste of your recipes. But learning the different tomato types, their shapes, taste, and best uses, makes it easier for you to choose the right one for the meal you want to have.
There are plenty of tomato varieties, from very small to over 2-pound giant tomatoes. Some are juicy and perfect for sauces, some are relatively juice-free and good for stuffing. What about their colors? They vary from deep red to orange, yellow, green, purple, and black.
8 tomato types to choose for your meals
Currants are the smallest tomatoes, about the size of a pea; their diameter reaches about 0.25-inch (5-6 millimeters). The smaller the tomato, the sweeter the flavor. Usually, they’re red and yellow, but if you’re lucky you may find almost white currant tomatoes. They are great for garnishing, salads, and for amusing children.
Grape tomatoes have the shape and size of a grape. Oblong and about half the size of cherry tomatoes, they have a thicker red, yellow, or purple skin.
Grape tomatoes aren't as sweet as cherry tomatoes. They are usually eaten fresh or in salads, but you can also use them for skewers because of their perfect size.
Cherry tomatoes are more popular than other mini-tomatoes. They’re round and about 1-inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, just like a big cherry, hence the name. Cherry tomatoes are juicy, sweet, have thin skins, and they squirt when you bite into them. Their color ranges from yellow to orange, red, purple, and black.
As with the other mini-tomatoes, the most common use of the cherry tomatoes is whole, in salads, but you can use them on skewers, stuff them or roast them.
Of course, they look like pears, only smaller in size. They’re about the same size as a cherry tomato. Even if you can find orange and red varieties, the yellow pear tomatoes are the most common. They're great for salads or snacking. Kids like these bright yellow teardrops not only for their charming shape but also for their mild flavor.
Plum tomatoes are also known as Romas or paste tomatoes. Why’s that? Because they’re mostly used in making tomato pastes and sauces. Oblong, about the size of an egg, either red or yellow, plum tomatoes are pulpy, usually thin-skinned, and tangy. They’re perfect for cooking and canning because they’re low on juice, and they make a thick sauce. You can also slow-roast them.
Globe tomatoes are large, round, and red – sometimes yellow – and they’re the most common tomatoes. They are the medium-sized tomatoes that you find in any store. Also called slicing tomatoes, these are the best option for sandwiches and salads. Still, they’re considered all-purpose tomatoes, good for eating raw or for cooking. Try making tarts, bruschetta, tomato soup, salads, stuffed tomatoes, sandwiches, and burgers.
Stuffed tomatoes are so delicious! But did you know that there are tomato varieties developed specifically for that purpose? They resemble bell peppers. They have thick walls, their seeds and core are relatively juice-free and, when you scrape them out, the center remains hollow. They come in many sizes, shapes, and colors. You can stuff them with tuna or other cold salads, but also with rice and other mixtures, then cook in the oven.
Beefsteak tomatoes are the largest of all the tomato types and can reach weights over 2 pounds or more. They are usually red, big, juicy, with a thick flesh and mild flavor. They’re good both raw and cooked. Use them in sandwiches, burgers, and salads, in pasta sauces, soups, or roasted.
You can also find out How to Keep Tomatoes Fresh Outside the Fridge