Invest in vine-ripened, truss or organic if you can - use your nose as a guide. A flavoursome tomato will smell rich and woody. A hot-house tomato will smell of nothing. Look for firm, taut skin but don't be put off by an irregular shape or the odd brown scar. Buy small numbers of ripe tomatoes more often as refrigerating will reduce their flavour. Buy very ripe tomatoes for cooking.
Canned or cooked tomatoes and tomato paste have much higher amounts of lycopene (an antioxidant pigment) than raw tomatoes, but when buying the canned variety, check labels for unwanted added sugar, salt or preservatives and colours.
Store at room temperature to ripen over a few days. Ripe tomatoes should also be kept at room temperature and used in a couple of days. If very ripe, store in the fridge but use as soon as possible. Rest refrigerated tomatoes at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
Tips & Tricks:
To peel egg tomatoes before using in a sauce, dip them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes until the skin splits. Once split it will slip off.
Use egg tomatoes to dry - delicious sprinkled on salads, egg and fish dishes. Halve and deseed the tomato. Sprinkle with seasalt and lay on wire racks. Preheat the oven to 60C and leave the racks in the oven for 8 - 10 hours. Store in sterilised jars with olive oil and shavings of garlic and fresh herbs.