A great tomato is worth looking for and that's why this week we are talking about the Campari Tomato. A tomato is a fruit, but in the United States we treat it like a vegetable. Once called the Peruvian Apple, the tomato is a member of the nightshade family. The first tomatoes were small yellow fruits, and that's why the Italians called them golden apples. The Campari tomatoes are vine-ripened; they don't spray the tomatoes with ethylene gas to make them red - sunlight works its magic naturally. The tomatoes are picked with the calyx (stem) still attached which tricks the tomato into thinking it is still on the plant. This allows the ripening process to be natural because the calyx feeds nutrition to the tomato while it continues to ripen. Once the tomato on the vine is harvested, the tomatoes on the vine ripen from the top of the cluster down. This is Mother Nature's way of ripening a tomato for every day of the week.
Most Campari's are grown hydroponically which eliminates the need for any pesticides. Bumble bees pollinate the tomatoes naturally. Because Campari tomatoes are allowed to ripen on the vine they are redder than most tomatoes, and contain a multitude of vitamins and minerals, including lycopene, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of cancer. The Campari tomato is small to medium in size, red, round and firm. It is harvested with the vine still attached and has a long shelf-life. It is an attractive fruit with great taste, firm skin, and an extra sweet flavor, averaging 7.5 to 8 in the brix (sugar) content. The Campari tomato is great for snacking or for use in salads, on pizza, or for sandwiches, in salsa, or roasted. Look for shiny, heavy fruit that is totally red and has a great fresh smell. A really good tomato is sweet, tender, juicy, and deep red in color, anything else tastes like cardboard.
Store your Campari tomatoes on the kitchen counter never in the refrigerator. This will allow the tomatoes to ripen naturally and maintain the nutritional value. By keeping them on the counter, you maintain the true texture and rich flavor of the tomato. Campari tomatoes are available from January thru May and September thru December, but whatever time of the year the taste is outstanding.
Other recipes from Produce Pete.