How to select―and store―this seasonal favorite, plus 16 tasty recipes.
Perfect Tomato Salad
Credit: Lisa Cohen

How to choose: Select tomatoes that are deeply colored and firm, with a little give. Sniff all tomatoes if you can. If they’re missing that sweet, woody smell, leave them behind. Check grape tomatoes for wrinkles, a sign of age.

How to store: Keep tomatoes at room temperature on a plate; never store them in a plastic bag. If you want to speed the ripening process, put the tomatoes in a pierced paper bag with an apple, which emits ethylene gas, a ripening agent.

Shelf life: Once ripe, tomatoes will last two to three days.

Best uses: Tomatoes can be grilled, roasted, or sautéed. Or make a juicy sandwich: Spread white bread with mayonnaise; top with tomato slices and a second piece of bread. One bite and you’ll wish fall would never come.