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A plum tomato, also known as a processing tomato or paste tomato, is a type of tomato bred for sauce and packing purposes. They are generally oval or cylindrical in shape, with significantly fewer seed compartments than standard round tomatoes (usually only two) and a generally higher solid content, making them more suitable for processing. Plum tomatoes are also sometimes favored by cooks for use during the tomato off-season.
Small plum tomatoes (similar in size to cherry tomatoes) are known as grape tomatoes. One well known variety of the plum tomato is the Roma tomato, an Italian variety which is grown throughout the worldPlum tomatoes tend to be less juicy , and they are ideally suited to drying, because of their concentrated flavor and lower moisture content. In sauces, the concentrated flavor can enhance the flavor and mouth feel of the sauce, and because the tomatoes hold their shape well, they tend to do well when canned for future use.
Chopped plum tomatoes
Refers to the finely chopped or roughly chopped plum tomatoes They may be chopped with and without peel as per recipe requirements. Another interesting way of chopping plum tomatoes would be to chop into big chunks or quarters.
Halved plum tomatoes
Refers to halved and deseeded tomatoes.
Sliced plum tomatoes
Slice the tomatoes in thick (1/2 inch) or thin slices( ¼ inch), with or without the skin.
How to select
When selecting plum tomatoes at the market, try to look for firm ones with smooth skins. Small green patches on the skin are fine, as they will resolve when the tomato fully ripens, but tomatoes with brown patches should be avoided. If the tomatoes are unripe, a few days at room temperature in a paper bag should be sufficient to ripen them.
· Plum tomatoes may be ground into tomato paste or a concentrated tomato product which can be added to stocks, soups, and sauces for a strong tomato flavor.
· These tomatoes also perform well when used fresh in simple sauces, sometimes simply cut into wedges and sauteed with garlic, onion, and a few other ingredients, and they can be used raw in salads as well.
· They can also be preserved in oil with fresh mozarella cheese, sliced into salsas, and used as a garnish
How to store
While a plum tomato does not have a great deal of flavor, it does have a very long shelf life. These tomatoes hold their shape well when they are canned, and break down nicely in tomato sauces. They can be stored in the refrigerator or frozen in deep freezers.
· Lycopene is an antioxidant which purportedly fights the free radicals that can interfere with normal cell growth and activity. These free radicals can potentially lead to cancer, heart disease and premature aging.
· Green tomatoes are also high in vitamin C (concentrated the most in the juice sacs surrounding the seeds) and contain goodly amounts of potassium, iron, dietary fiber, phosphorus, vitamin A and vitamin B.