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Grocery tomatoes

I know it is still early for tomatoes, But those hot house tomatoes that look so red and ripe, are completely tasteless. I was looking forward to my bruschetta with a little tomato. Watery and worthless they are. What are these things ? Never again for me. I will have to wait for the season. What do you do when you want a tomoato in May ? Probably forget about it.I will learn how to can my own from my garden this year.

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  1. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, try the Kumatos. I think they're quite good.


    5 Replies
    1. re: gmm

      I do shop at Trader Joe's on a regular basis. I really like all their products and wine, but I do find the vegtables a bit lacking. I can't put my finger on it. I will look for the Kumatos.

      1. re: emglow101

        I agree with you on most of their fresh produce. Aside from the heirloom oranges, which are gone now, the only other produce I buy there is their bagged spinach.

      2. re: gmm

        Are those the brown packaged tomatoes? I've seen them at stores other than Trader Joes. They're pretty good for grocery store tomatoes.

        1. re: chicgail

          Those are the ones. I've only seen them at TJ's, but the grocery stores around here don't really carry specialty or gourmet items.

        2. re: gmm

          I passed by them this evening. Looks like 1 lb for $ 3.99. That's are top market price for farmers market and local grocery in season ( Santa Cruz, CA) . As before I have not been impressed by TJ"s produce. Sooner or later I'll give in and try them.

          1. re: Sue in Mt P

            You are lucky Sue! My starters were just planted two weeks ago.

          2. Have you tried the compari (sic) tomatoes? They are in a plastic tub but have a really good taste. They were my "go to" tomatoes out of season. I say were as, sadly, I'm not supposed to eat tomatoes - I cheat though lol!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Linda VH

              The campari tomatoes are indeed tasty, but even they are a bit flat-tasting out of season. Far better than the mealy and flavorless orbs you get here in May, but my meals typically don't feature tomatoes until they come into season.

            2. My local farmstand just opened and he and many of the other farmers bring up tomatoes from a certain area in the Carolinas...they're not like summer tomatoes, but a great warm up after a day or two sitting! Do you have anyone small near you that you can talk to? The groceries will never be able to do something like that, too small scale.

              1. The hot house tomatoes I've found in grocery stores are better than the pale pink things, but still not great. There are several farms selling greenhouse tomatoes at my local farmers' market though, and they are very good.

                1. I try to avoid tomatoes out of season. Once they hit the refrigerated truck, grocery store tomatoes are useless, if they were even flavorful to begin with. When I have a hankering for tomatoes off season, the Campari tomatoes or the pints of grape tomatoes are my best bet, though they are nowhere near a good, in-season tomato. Still better than run of the mill hothouse ones though.

                  1. Cooks Illustrated recommends putting grocery store tomatoes on a sunny window sill. In a few days the flavor and texture improves vastly. Not as good as fresh off the vine, but if you just gotta have a tomato, it really helps.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: NonnieMuss

                      Half the time (or more) the grocery tomatoes will rot or turn a styrofoam kind of texture, so don't count on it. They are mutants!!

                    2. I had good luck last week with grocery store "on the vine" tomatoes that I kept on a saucer for a few days before using. Not 'wonderful' but OK. I also halved and seeded a pint of grape tomatoes and sauteed in olive oil w/garlic.

                      1. I rarely eat them out of season in a raw state, but will roast them (did breadcrumb stuffed yesterday) or chop them up for a pasta sauce with oil cured olives, proscuitto and fresh herbs. (I do have to admit that I got a few small heirlooms from the Farmers' Market last week and they were wonderful.)

                        1. I've been buying Campari tomatoes lately. For a hothouse product, they are pretty close to a good farm stand tomato. They are on the sweet side with not really enough acidity, but they seem to be the best bet if one is stuck buying supermarket tomatoes.

                          1. Your best bet for at least semi-decent-tasting tomatoes out of season are Campari's, Kumato's, or the smallest cherry/grape tomatoes your market carries. These will be sweetest & most "tomatoey".

                            1. We have good luck with UglyRipe grocery store tomatoes, though I'll note they're typically a little on the watery side.

                              1. Try Roma, plum, or olivette tomatoes - -the oblong ones used for sauce. They're typically quite a lot meatier and less watery than "regular" tomatoes, and make very good bruschetta.

                                1. Safeway tomatoes, even the ones labeled 'organic', have the most artificial taste out there. My Costco's tomatoes shipped from Mexico taste 1000 times better than Safeway's. Just a fact. Beware.

                                  1. Where I am in the world (northern Europe), commercial tomatoes are pretty much always grown under glass and, as such, are usually tasteless. This includes the ones imported from southern Europe. The only time I get a chance of a tomato tasting like a tomato is if I visit a market in southern Europe where small scale farmers are selling their produce.