Tomatoes, categorized botanically as fruits, are eaten as a vegetable, enjoyed for their combination of sweetness and acidity. They are at their best during summer, although fresh varieties are available all year. Colors vary from red to yellow to green and purple and shapes from the bulky beefsteak and the large common tomato to the small cherry tomato. At other times of year, plum, or Roma, tomatoes, may have the best flavor and texture. Tomatoes are sold fresh or in cans. Sweet, chewy dried tomatoes come plain or packed in oil.
To peel fresh tomatoes:
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Using a small, sharp knife, cut out the core from the stem end of each tomato. Then cut a shallow X in the skin at the base of the tomato. Immerse the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 20 seconds, then remove and dip in a bowl of cold water. Starting at the X, peel off the skin, using your fingertips and, if necessary, the knife blade.To seed fresh tomatoes: Cut each tomato in half crosswise. Squeeze gently to force out the seed sacs.