1) Locally grown tomatoes taste better because they were picked ripe, whereas remotely-grown tomatoes had to be picked pre-ripe because of the time and distance bringing them to market.
2) Another reason locally grown tomatoes have more flavor is because commercial, mass-harvested tomatoes are designed to be durable and sturdy, eliminating much of the “jelly and seeds” that give tomatoes much of their taste.
3) Weirdly-shaped tomatoes are fine. Only commercial, mass-produced tomatoes are engineered to a near perfect shape.
4) The Cook’s Illustrated top kitchen tested canned brands:
Whole: Muir Glen Organic;
Puree: Muir Glen Organic;
5) Avoid refrigeration. The cold “damages the enzymes that produce flavor.”
6) Given the choice between canning and freezing, freezing maintains the flavor better.
7) Best tomatoes for sauces and stews: Meaty plum or Roma contain less moisture.
8) Avoid cooking tomatoes in uncoated copper, aluminum, or cast iron. The tomatoes’ acid does not mix well with these metals and you end up with a metallic taste.
Dannette St. Onge, “All About Tomatoes”, Cook’s Illustrated, July / August 2012
Photo: urbanmkr (flickr CC)