The tomato plant is native to the Americas, and was cultivated by Aztecs in Central America as early as 700 A.D. The earliest tomatoes probably resembled the cherry tomato, with small fruits growing in clusters on vines. Cherry tomatoes grow vigorously and produce copious amounts of fruit even when grown in containers. For best results, plant tomato transplants outdoors after danger of frost has passed. Tomato plants need warm temperatures, bright sunlight and even soil moisture. Early varieties are ready for harvest in 60 days or fewer, but most tomato crops mature in 70 to 80 days.
Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator — flavor and texture begin to deteriorate at temperatures below 54 degrees. Store fresh tomatoes away from direct sunlight at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, until ready to use.
Cherry Tomato Relish
1 cup balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 cup olive oil
1/8 cup drained canned diced
mild green chilies
4 finely chopped green onions
4 cups halved cherry tomatoes
Whisk vinegar and oregano in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Mix in green chilies and green onions. Add tomatoes; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.