How To Pick A GOOD Tomato

Don’t settle for the mealy or mediocre: We’re here to help you pick produce like the pros

We’ve all been there: lost in a corn maze of identical-seeming produce, hopelessly wishing for the Platonic ideal of any given fruit or vegetable. We’re all just looking for the peach of our youth, eaten quickly behind a tree and feeling almost illicit as it dripped down our sunburnt arms. You deserve a head of broccoli that doesn’t taste like it’s been shipped across 10 states over the course of last week.

Don’t settle for the mealy or mediocre: GOOD Food is here with easy, practical advice about how to navigate the endless array of edible options like a pro. This week, as tomato season rushes towards us full-throttle, we’re guiding you towards the tomato of your late-summer-night dreams.

1. Be shallow.

One of my most high-anxiety tasks as an intern for one of the web’s most beloved recipe websites was to pick produce at the Union Square Greenmarket that would be used in photo shoots. You think making salad for your friends is stressful? Try making salad look perfect for hundreds of thousands of readers.

The first time I was sent to pick tomatoes, I used the reasoning of a jewel thief: pick the biggest, prettiest tomatoes. As in, the reddest, juiciest, plumpest tomatoes you can find. If they look worthy of a Gourmet photoshoot (RIP), chances are they’ll taste good, too. Just ask my old coworkers, who were so enthralled with my red rubies of the earth that most of them made me go back to place a second order—for their dinner tables.

2. Follow your nose.

Tomatoes should smell phenomenal—specifically, woody and sweet, like moss you’d want to put in your mouth. If they don’t smell like anything, they’re not going to taste like much.

If you’re not in a farmer’s market, heirloom-mater situation, buy cherry tomatoes or tomatoes on the vine. Both tend to retain flavor, firmness and aroma. Feel free to smell and compare—it may look a little creepy, but it works.

3. Don’t be cool.

Stay well away from the refrigerated section—tomatoes weren’t meant to be chilled; they’ll be mealy and grainy. Ditto for storing your plump red prizes; keep them on the counter, not in the fridge.

4. Weigh your options.

Tomatoes should feel heavy in your palm (unless you’re buying cherry or on-the-vine tomatoes—in which case, don’t take them out one by one and put your grimy fingers on them, everyone will hate you). Think somewhere between a baseball and a medium-sized stone; you want them to have heft. However, with a light squeeze, they should be slightly supple to the touch—not mushy (unless you’re making sauce), but not rock-hard.

5. Buy now, and buy here.

Tomatoes are in season from June until September—with the perfect peak in late August and early fall. (Don’t expect to buy great tomatoes from October to May.)

They’re also one fruit that pays off to buy local. Recent concerns that tomatoes from Mexico are unsafe may be unfounded, but the U.S. is the top producer of tomatoes, with the biggest yields coming out of Florida and California (no surprises here) and some of the best out of New Jersey (perhaps more surprising!)

If you know you’re going to be craving tomatoes all year long—and I don’t blame you—your best bet is to can and confit your summer stash and store them in your freezer, or else stick with the smaller varieties grown in greenhouses nearby.


Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

Keep Reading Show less

One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.

It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

Keep Reading Show less
via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

Keep Reading Show less