Local isn’t always best! Many tomatoes are grown under heated glass out of season, at huge environmental cost. When we can’t grow tomatoes at home without heat, we truck over naturally sun-ripened ones from our grower Paco Locano in Spain. In a project with Exeter University, we discovered that this uses just a tenth of the carbon compared with growing them in the UK, using heat.
Storage & prep
Will keep for a week
Storage: Keep tomatoes out of the fridge, as chilling dulls their flavour compounds. For the best flavour, keep them at room temperature and eat them when they reach peak ripeness – dark red and slightly soft. Give them some room to breathe – the cardboard punnet or ventilated plastic box they came in is ideal.
Prep: Tomato skins are the nemesis of dull knife blades. Unless your sabre is keen and razor-sharp you are best to use a serrated knife for slicing. If you are ever called on to skin a tomato then cut a shallow cross into the top and blanch it in boiling water for 30 secs. Drop into cold water and peel the loosened skins away with ease.
Courgette & tomato soup
Make the most of summer's bounty with this simple, bold soup topped with basil-baked croutons. It's good both warm and chilled, and freezes well if you've got a glut of courgettes and tomatoes. Add a pinch of chilli if you're a heat-lover, or a spoonful of crème fraîche to serve.
Serves 4 - 45 min
Tomato works well with:
Cheese – especially feta, Gruyère, mozzarella
Herbs – especially basil, coriander, mint, oregano, tarragon, thyme
Meat – beef, chicken, lamb, pork
Olives and olive oil
Spices – anise, chilli, cinnamon, clove