As food experts at 3 Guys From Brooklyn, we know a thing or two about good produce. One of our favorite fruits (yes, tomatoes are technically a fruit!) is the Jersey tomato. These bright red beauties are known for their sweet, juicy flavor and are a staple in many New Jersey and Brooklyn households. But what makes Jersey tomatoes so special? In this blog post, we'll delve into the history and characteristics of these beloved tomatoes, share some popular recipes and tips for using them, and provide you with our own recipe for homemade Italian tomato sauce using fresh Jersey tomatoes. By the end of this post, you’ll be a true tomato enthusiast!
First, let's talk about what makes Jersey tomatoes different from other varieties. For starters, they are grown in the nutrient-rich sandy soil of the Garden State, which gives them a distinctive flavor and texture. They are also picked at peak ripeness, meaning they are fully matured on the vine before being harvested. This results in a sweeter, juicier tomato with a higher natural sugar content. The ideal growing conditions in New Jersey, coupled with the careful selection process, make for a tomato that is bursting with flavor and nutrition.
Now, let's dive into some practical applications for these delicious fruits. One of the most popular ways to use Jersey tomatoes in everyday cuisine is in a classic Caprese salad. Simply slice the tomatoes, layer them with fresh mozzarella and basil, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and voila! You have a light and refreshing dish that showcases the tomato's natural sweetness. Jersey tomatoes also make a great addition to pasta dishes, soups, and salsas. And of course, they are a must-have ingredient for any homemade tomato sauce.
Speaking of tomato sauce, here's our very own recipe for Italian tomato sauce using fresh Jersey tomatoes:
Ingredients: 2 lbs fresh Jersey tomatoes, peeled and chopped 1 large yellow onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp dried oregano Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and the flavors have melded together.
Serve over your favorite pasta, or use as a base for pizza or lasagna.
Finally, let's talk about how to choose the best Jersey tomatoes when you're at the store. Look for fruits that are firm, with smooth skin and a deep red color. Avoid any tomatoes that have soft spots, bruises, or green areas on the skin. It's also a good idea to give the tomato a gentle squeeze - it should feel slightly firm but give just a little under pressure. And remember, the best Jersey tomatoes are always in season from July through September, so plan your shopping accordingly.
We hope this post has given you a newfound appreciation for Jersey tomatoes, and some inspiration for how to use them in your own cooking. Whether you're making a simple salad or a complex sauce, these versatile and delicious fruits are sure to add a burst of flavor to any dish. And if you're ever in the Bay Ridge area, stop by 3 Guys From Brooklyn to pick up some of the freshest and most flavorful Jersey tomatoes around. Happy cooking!