- noun an important food crop that produces a round fruit with a bright red skin and pulpy flesh with many seeds. The ripe fruit are used in salads and many cooked dishes, and also pressed to make juice and sauces. Large quantities are also canned.
- The fruit of an annual plant (in temperate climates) or short-lived perennial (in warm climates), Lycopersicon esculentum, of which some varieties grow to over 2.5 m high whilst others are low bushes. Although technically a fruit they are used exclusively as a salad or cooking vegetable or as a flavouring and thickener for a range of soups, sauces and other cooked dishes. The fruits are from 1 cm to over 10 cm in diameter, slightly flattened spheres with a yellow to red fleshy pulp divided internally in hollow segments each containing a slack pulp with embedded seeds. They are easily skinned by blanching for 10 to 20 seconds in boiling water and are used skinned and unskinned, raw, cooked and sometimes deseeded in a wide variety of dishes. Most tomatoes of commerce are picked green and ripened in the box. Vine ripened tomatoes found in warmer climates generally have a superior flavour.