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5 popular types of tomatoes and how to use them

From being the key ingredient in your spaghetti Bolognese to the core of your Caprese salad, the humble tomato is always our produce saviour. Here are some of the best-known varieties. 

1. Heirloom tomatoes 

Heirloom tomatoes vary in shape, size, colour and taste. So, what makes an heirloom tomato, well, an heirloom tomato? The seeds are saved and passed down from previous seasons so that farmers can choose traits like the size, shape or juiciness of what they want in a tomato. A more natural alternative to hybrid tomatoes, Heirloom tomatoes are naturally pollinated by birds, human hands, wind or insects.  


2. Cherry tomatoes 

Cherry tomatoes are the star of your Caprese salad and (especially) those viral TikTok pastas. You’ll find these bite sized delights growing on vines in a multitude of colours like red, orange, yellow, green, purple and even black. And although all tomatoes are best in summer, Cherry tomatoes are rich in flavour all year round. Enjoy these juicy mini tomatoes in a salad or just as a snack and feel them pop as you bite into their delicious flesh.   

Also read: Roast cherry tomato, pesto and mozzarella braaibroodjies 

3. Beefsteak tomatoes  

From delicious BLT sandwich to a hearty tomato bredie, beefsteak tomatoes are the ultimate all-rounders. It is large and sturdy enough to hold its shape after thinly slicing its plump, meaty texture. They are at their peak in late summer as they need the sun to fully ripen into that medium to deep red colour and sweet, juicy flavour. 

4. Plum tomatoes 

Plum tomatoes are proof that small packages carry a big (flavourful) punch. These round bite-sized tomatoes grow on upright plants and have thick wall and fewer seeds than the cherry tomato. Roma tomato is the most popular variety, and you’ll often find them as whole and peeled canned tomatoes at the supermarket – perfect to use for a quick and easy Bolognese sauce for an after-work dinner.    


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Also read: Tomato and corn bread in a pot 

5. Oxheart tomatoes 

Either smooth or ribbed, these heart-shaped tomatoes are sweet with a tangy kick. It’s often reddish pink, but can be yellow, black and even blue! Oxheart tomatoes work well fresh in salads, but its juicy flesh and few seeds make it perfect to use for soups and sauces. Opt for this tasty tomato in salsa at your next taco Tuesday, a rich tomato soup or in a lovely pasta sauce 


Photography: Unsplash

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