How to Pick Out Really Great Tomatoes



Staff member
How to Pick Out Really Great Tomatoes - Bon Appetit

The best tomatoes are heavy and smelly.

When a tomato is good, it’s good—so it’s no wonder that passionate cooks wax poetic about these vibrant late-summer beauties. But when you pick up a dud that turns out mealy, mushy, and bland, it can put you off tomatoes for a while. Until someone invents a Good Tomato/Bad Tomato app (please, no), you’ll have to rely on your old-fashioned senses to select the juiciest, most flavorful specimens. These tips will keep you on the right track toward tomato bliss, whether you’re at the supermarket or farmers market.

Look local

If you’re fortunate enough to live in or close to a tomato-growing region in the country, your best bet is to seek out locally grown tomatoes in the height of summer, when they’re at their peak. The most excellent tomatoes are almost always going to be the ones that have traveled the shortest distance, and are more likely to be ripened on the vine rather than in the back of a refrigerated truck.

Hold but do not squeeze

You’ve got to pick ’em up! Smaller tomatoes should be firm but not hard; larger tomatoes should feel heavy for their size and neither too solid nor too soft or swollen. (Remember: They’ll continue to ripen on your counter at home.)