It can be frustrating to try a new recipe and not understand how much of an ingredient to purchase at the store. Sometimes they give you a quantity of tomatoes in volume (2 cups), sometimes as a weight (8 ounces) and still others the tomato is given as a produce description (2 medium tomatoes). But what are they really talking about? So how much is in a tomato? In order to help make cooking easier we did some experiments to help tell you exactly how many tomatoes you need to buy.
To answer How many tomatoes in a cup we went to the grocery store to check out the different common types of tomatoes in the produce section. After surveying the selection we discovered that 1 pound is equal to 25 to 30 cherry tomatoes, 8 plum tomatoes or 3 medium round tomatoes.
The cherry tomato weighs about 1 ounce, the plum tomato about 3 ounces, and the regular garden tomato weighs about 6 ounces. We then started chopping and found it took 27 to 28 cherry tomatoes, about 3 plum tomatoes, or 1.25 medium round garden tomatoes to reach the 1 cup mark.
Did you know that a fruit is the edible part of the plant containing seeds; a vegetable is a stem, leaf or root. Botanically speaking a tomato is a fruit. The confusion arose after the 1890s when the US Supreme Court named them a vegetable for taxation purposes. Tomatoes are thought to have originated in South America near modern-day Peru. The name "tomato" comes from the Aztec word "xitomatl," which means "plump thing with a navel". The biggest tomato fight in the world happens each year in the small Spanish town of Buñol. The La Tomatina Festival involves some 40,000 people throwing 150,000 overly ripe tomatoes at each other. Now there's a laundry nightmare!
Next time your recipe calls for a cup of chopped tomatoes you'll feel confident knowing how many of which kind of tomato you need. You can also use our conversion tool below for any custom how many tomatoes in a... measurements you need. Having trouble slicing tomatoes into clean looking pieces? Then we highly recommended buying a serrated tomato knife, they aren't expensive and really make cutting tomatoes so much easier. For 2 options under $10, the Rada Cutlery Tomato Slicer Knife is super sharp but feels light weight. For a heftier feel in the hand, the Pure Komachi 2 Series Tomato/Cheese Knife is another option in the same price point. If a longer blade is a mandatory feature, then the 5.5 inch Wusthof Gourmet Tomato Knife, although a bit more expensive, may be just the kitchen tool you need for a more pleasant cooking experience.
A tomato is a flowering plant of the nightshade family which grows in places with warm climates. The nightshade family is considered poisonous; thus, eating its leaves, stem, and immature fruit can be toxic, especially when consumed in large amounts. On the other hand, ripe tomatoes contain no toxins and are safe to eat.
Tomatoes are considered one of the fruits with the highest water content with about 95% water and 5% carbohydrates and fiber.
Tomato is botanically a fruit but is also defined as a vegetable due to its culinary use and nutritional benefits.
There are several different ways to talk about types of tomatoes. Depending on who you are talking to, you will get different answers to this question and probably none of the answers are wrong. For instance, if you are at the grocery store, or the garden store or in a casual conversation.
When buying tomatoes at the store, there are
Small ones that are fun to just pop into your mouth or top off your salad with. These include ones like cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes.
More medium sized ones are often called Romas and are red skinned with an elongated oval body. If you're making a tomato sauce or paste these are great options.
The most common ones are medium-large globe tomatoes. These basic ones are good in just about any application from raw slices on a salad to cooking with them.
The larger beefsteak tomatoes are usually red skinned and quite juicy. Their flavor is a little milder than some of the other types. They're good in many different applications, but this is often the big sliced of tomato you will find on your hamburger!
When at the garden shop, the customers are looking to purchase tomato plants to grow at their home. Then the countless varieties of tomatoes are generally classified into two types: determinate and indeterminate.
Determinate tomatoes are the ones that grow in a bush shape and only get 2 to 4 feet tall. Oftentimes you don't even need to stake them as the bush holds them upright. These are often planted in small spaces and garden containers. Examples of determinate tomatoes include celebrity, Marglobe, Rutgers, and globe tomatoes.
Indeterminate tomatoes are better known as "vining" varieties. These tomatoes keep producing throughout the season and need to be staked up or put in tomato cages so the stems don't break from the weight of the fruit. The majority of tomatoes are indeterminate, including beefsteak, Sungold, Brandywine, and cherry tomatoes.
Depending on the type of tomato, its look and flavor profile differs, but most commonly, its colors are red, scarlet, orange, and yellow. Shapes also vary but are mostly spherical to oval and elongated to pear-shaped, with sizes from tiny to large.
A tomato flavor is a distinct taste that people sometimes just describe as a “classic tomato flavor.” When they try to be more specific, it can be called a combination of sweet and acidic. Some tomatoes have a more tart or tangy flavor. Between the different varieties and people’s personal preferences, you can hear a range of terms used to describe a tomato’s taste.
The color of tomatoes also plays a role in its taste profile. Red tomatoes are commonly sweeter than acidic in flavor. While yellow and orange tomatoes are less acidic with mild sweetness resulting in a milder flavor.
Most people think of green tomatoes as unripe tomatoes, but there is actually a green tomato heirloom variety. The most common green tomatoes are Aunt Ruby’s Green, and Green Zebra.
No matter how long you leave them ripening on the vine, they still won’t turn red like the typical tomatoes. Instead, they become greenish-yellow, and they are totally safe to eat.
On the other hand, green or unripe tomatoes are also safe to eat. Some restaurants even have Fried Green Tomatoes on their menus. Some say that unripe tomatoes are less juicy and more acidic or bitter in terms of flavor as compared to the ripe ones.
Tomatoes are a primary source of lycopene, vitamin C, folate, potassium, and vitamin K.
Tomatoes can be eaten as a snack or in salad dishes like Caprese and tomato salads, or as a snack, eaten raw or in burgers and sandwiches. It is used as an ingredient for various dishes cooked by grilling, roasting, and sauteing.
Specific uses include tomato soups, pizza (both as sauce and for toppings like Margherita pizza), gazpacho, salsa, pasta sauces like marinara, ragu, and spaghetti, meatballs, pico de gallo, and a lot more.
Tomatoes are also widely used for commercial products like tomato juice, tomato ketchup, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.
Depending on the dish you will prepare, choosing the suitable tomato substitute is essential in achieving the right flavor.
If a specific tomato is needed for the recipe, simply use another variety of tomatoes. Consistency and flavor may not be the same, but it might be the closest thing you could get.
If a different tomato variety is not available, another alternative would be using processed tomatoes like canned tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato puree, or tomato powder. Which one of these you could try would depend on the specific dish or recipe you are making.
Other potential replacements for tomatoes are tamarind paste, unripe mango, pumpkin, or yogurt. These could be used as a substitute in curry recipes. The different taste notes could make for an interesting dish.
Spices like paprika, chili powder, red bell pepper, and pepper, on the other hand, can be used as a substitute for tomatoes for soup and stew recipes.
Ripe tomatoes are generally safe for consumption to most pets if fed in moderation or as an occasional snack. Meanwhile, unripe tomatoes and tomato plants are considered toxic to pets, especially when consumed in large amounts.
Tomatoes are naturally acidic, which can most likely stimulate the production of stomach acids that may result in bloating and gas.
Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature and away from direct sunlight until it ripens. On the other hand, if the tomatoes are super unripe, place it on a paper bag with stem-side down and store it at room temperature to make it ripen faster.
Once ripe, place it at a wine or root cellar or the warmest part of the refrigerator, usually the top shelf near the door.
To store longer, freeze tomatoes.
Unripe tomatoes should be stored in a single layer with its stem side down. This would prevent moisture from leaving the tomato and block air to keep it at its best state until it completely ripens. Storing it properly can make it last from 5 to 7 days once ripe.
Store tomatoes in halves cut-side down on a paper towel inside a storage container and use immediately within two days.
If the tomatoes are ripe, better to consume them immediately or put them in the refrigerator. Refrigerating tomatoes will slow down their ripening process and will make it last 5 to 7 days longer.
It is important to place it at the warmest part of the refrigerator, usually the top shelf near the door. It's best to let the cold tomatoes return to room temperature before eating them, this will help return it's full flavor.
Never put under-ripe tomatoes in the refrigerator as it will disrupt its ripening process. This would also degrade its texture resulting in a soft, mealy texture with blotchy coloration, and would affect its flavor development.
Freezing tomatoes would make for a delicious soup, sauce, or salsa. Doing so would also increase its shelf life.
Before freezing, blanch tomatoes, then transfer immediately into a bowl with ice water and let it cool. Remove stems and core tomatoes, then transfer into storage bags, preferably Ziploc bags. Make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing to avoid freezer burn. Then, store flat into the freezer.
Another option would be slicing, dicing, or crushing the tomatoes once the core has been removed. Cutting it into smaller pieces would make thawing easier and would help if you have limited space in the freezer. Freezing tomatoes would make it last for up to 3 months.
Tomatoes can be cut into slices, cubes, chunks, or diced, depending on what the recipe calls for.
To do so, wash tomatoes first, then cut the end to remove the stem part. Then slice tomatoes according to what the recipe calls for.
Some prefer removing the core of tomatoes, and you can do that before slicing it.
Since tomatoes are sometimes eaten fresh, make sure to clean them thoroughly by holding the tomato under running water and gently rub to remove dirt, bacteria, or any possible pesticide residue.
Generally speaking, tomato skins are safe to eat plus it is rich in antioxidants, several vitamins, and minerals thus consuming it would be beneficial.
On the other hand, some recipe calls for peeling tomato skin like in sauces, and purées. To do so, wash the tomatoes first in running water and remove its stem. Then, use a paring knife to cut a criss-cross at the bottom of the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes in boiling water and cook for a minute. Remove tomatoes from the water and put them in ice water. Once you see its skin starting to peel off, strain using a colander, then peel off the skin using your hands and discard them.
Wash the tomato by gently rubbing it under running water. Remove the stem by twisting it using your hands or by slicing the end. Then, using a serrated or paring knife, cut the tomato into thin slices against the core working from the top towards the bottom.
Another way to slice a tomato is by cutting its core with a serrated paring knife about an inch deep around the stem,e then pull or scoop it out with a spoon or a tomato corer. Then cut into parallel thin slices from the top towards the bottom.
When a recipe calls for chopped or cubed tomatoes, first, wash it under running water while rubbing it using your hands to remove any dirt.
Depending on your preference, you can remove the stem using your hands, by slicing the end of the tomato or core the tomato using a serrated knife. To core tomato, simply cut around the stem in a circle, then dig it out using a spoon or a tomato corer.
Slice the tomato into thin slices, then stack a few pieces and cut them into strips. Chop up the strips in the opposite direction at a 90-degree angle to create cubed or chopped tomatoes.
Once done, repeat and stack a few more slices and chop until you finish chopping all the tomatoes.
Dicing or mincing tomatoes means cutting them into smaller uniform pieces compared to cubed tomatoes. To dice, rinse tomatoes under running water and rub to remove any dirt.
Remove the stem using your hands or by slicing the end of the tomato.
If you plan to remove its core, simply use a serrated knife or a tomato huller. If using a serrated knife, cut around the stem in a circle, then dig it out using a spoon or a tomato corer. Otherwise, you may skip cutting out the core and slice the tomato into thin slices on a chopping board. Stack a few pieces of tomatoes and cut them into strips. Continue chopping up the strips at a 90-degree angle in the same widths.
Wedge tomatoes are ideal for salad recipes. To wedge a tomato, wash it to get any unwanted dirt, then pull the stem. Cut the tomato equally in half, then slice halve tomatoes into quarters. If you do this, you should have about eight tomato wedges. If you want smaller wedges, you can cut each wedge in half again.
Tomato puree is a thick sauce made by cooking and straining tomatoes. The easiest and fastest way to do this is by using a blender.
To do so, prepare the tomatoes by rinsing them first in running water to remove any dirt then removing its stem using your hands. Then use a paring knife and cut it to make a 1/2 inch criss-cross cut on the base of the tomatoes. Boil water in a pan and let it blanch for 2 minutes.
Remove the pan from the burner and let the tomatoes remain in the hot water for an additional 10 to 15 minutes while covered. Place them in cold water for 2 minutes, then remove and allow the tomatoes to reach room temperature.
Next, peel the skin and cut out the spot where the stem was attached to the fruit.
Chop the tomatoes on a chopping board using a knife and put it in the blender. If you have a heavy-duty blender, no need to chop it. Just slice it in half, and you're good to go! Process until smooth, then strain the juice to remove seeds.
Though grating tomatoes are not that common, it is the easiest and fastest way to make a chunky puree.
To grate tomatoes, wash and rinse using running water, then remove its stem. Cut tomatoes into half, then grate using the largest holes of a grater. Start grating from the inside until flattened, and all that is left of your tomato is thin skin.
Making homemade tomato juice is like eating fresh, raw tomatoes but in a liquid form. There are several ways to make tomato juice, depending on which equipment is available at your house.
The easiest way is by using a tomato juicer. Simply put the washed tomatoes on the juicer, and it will automatically remove its skin and seeds from the juice.
Another way to juice a tomato is by using a blender. After washing and removing the stems of the tomatoes, slice the tomatoes in half, then put it in the blender. Now, you just have to wait for it to process until it produces a smooth and juice-like texture.
There have been controversies that tomato seeds can cause skin rashes, allergic reactions, acid reflux, and worsen kidney stones. But generally, it is safe to eat, and there’s not enough evidence to prove it, as most sources say.
Apparently tomato greens are safe to eat, both raw or cooked. However, some people don’t care for the strong smell and taste of the leaves. Others are concerned because tomatoes are members of the nightshade family which primarily includes poisonous plants and only a few edible ones.
Place not fully ripened tomatoes in a large plastic covered bowl with holes drilled in the top. The cover traps the tomatoes' natural ethylene gas and speeds up the ripening process; the air holes allow proper air and moisture circulation.
Green tomatoes will ripen when stored in a warmer spot with temperatures between 65 and 70°F (18.3 and 21.1°C). The tomatoes can be stored in a cooler location, but will take longer to ripen. In this state, you can hold tomatoes 4 to 6 weeks.
Tomatoes are sensitive to chill-injury, store on your counter at room temperature between 65 and 70°F (18.3 and 21.1°C). Do not refrigerate unless necessary, such as extra-ripe tomatoes which helps to slow down the ripening process. Refrigeration causes tomatoes to lose flavor and nutrients.
Peeled, seeded pulp will hold in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days if covered well.
Set tomatoes on a rack without touching each other. Tomatoes that have started to turn red can be held in a dark area with temperature of 55 to 60°F (12.8 and 15.6°C)s. The storage spot must be humid but not damp, or the tomatoes will rot. And if possible, a temperature of 85°F (29.4°C) is actually ideal.
Tomato sauce freezes great.
Whole or peeled tomatoes can be frozen in plastic bags for use in cooked meals later. However, this process does alter the taste and texture of the tomatoes.
Standard and plum tomatoes are excellent for canning.
There may be several thousand varieties of tomatoes, but the following 4 classifications are most commonly used:
One of the biggest hassles when cooking and working in the kitchen is when a recipe calls for "the juice of 1 lime" or a similar measurement. Often times when cooking people use bottled juices, pre-sliced vegetables and other convenient cooking time savers. Produce Converter will help you convert the "juice of 1 lime" and other similar recipe instructions into tablespoons, cups and other concrete measurements.
Produce Converter can also be used to figure out how many vegetables to buy when you need, for instance, "A cup of diced onion." You can use our easy conversion tool to figure out exactly how many onions you need to buy at the store in order to end up with the amount you need for your cooking.
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