There are more than 300 different varieties of tomatoes commercially grown in Ontario. To make it easier, those 300 can be grouped into the following categories:
- Round (slicing/table): Medium-sized, globe-shaped. Ideal for eating raw.
- Roma or Plum: Plum-shaped and thick-fleshed. Smaller and less juicy than the Round variety. Excellent for preserving, sauces, or making paste.
- Beefsteak: Similar to Round tomatoes but flatter with fleshier walls and not as juicy. Excellent for both cooking and eating raw. Size varies from small to large.
Popular Ontario field tomato varieties include Sunrise, Pik Rite, Mountain Pride, Pilgrim, Red Star and Ultra-sweet.
One medium tomato has 25 calories; it's a good source of Vitamin C and a source of Vitamin A and folacin.
The tomato originated in South America in pre-Columbian times and eventually became a staple in the Mexican diet. But for much of its history in North America and Europe, it was considered an ornamental plant; eating it was thought to be distasteful if not unhealthy.
In the 1800's it began to be used to make sauces and soups, but it wasn't until the 1900's that the tomato gained full international acceptance.