Monday, July 11, 2011

Tomatoe, Tomahtoe

Fruit or vegetable? Why bother?! The peak of the season is coming up (late July), so now is the time to enjoy some tomato goodness without care. So go pick all the vine-ripened, roma, heirloom, beefsteak, cherry, grape, yellow, green, plum, or campari that your hearts desire!

(vine-ripened and roma pictured)

Why is seasonal such a big deal?
* Because that means the tomatoes are perfect for the picking. I know it might sound a little crazy to talk about such things as "season" when you can pretty much get whatever you want year-round. Well, you can't get the BEST year round. The reason being that seasonal produce is what the farmers are actually growing in your area based on the soil and climate. That means that the produce is more nutritious, and it tastes better! Not to mention, there will be a larger supply of that produce, driving down prices for you!

Which means it is the perfect time to create and enjoy such treats as:
* Salsa (see previous post)
* Gazpacho
* Marinara (or any other tomato based sauce)
* Stuffed tomatoes
* Tomato soup (coming up!)
* BLTs
* Tomato salad (favorite: caprese)
* Ratatouille
* Tomato pies and tarts
* Or simply slice, and hit with some s&p action!

Tomato Tips
* When storing tomatoes, lay flat on a tray if possible. If they're stacked, they tend to go bad quicker.
* Don't store in the fridge before their ripe; leave them out on the counter! Don't believe me? Put a tomato in the fridge and one on the counter. Try each the next day. The one in the fridge (especially if it's been there a few days) will taste mealy, and the flavor will be non-existent.

Good News for People Who Love Good News
* Tomatoes contain lycopene, a totally awesome antioxidant! It's no coincidence that the most succulent summer treat helps ward off certain types of cancer, AND has also been shown to help skin's ability to protect against harmful UV rays!

Voice of the People
* I have a tomato soup recipe coming up, but was wondering what other tomato recipes people were interested in?? Please post below and let me know! Also, if you have some tomato-inspired recipes of your own, please share! :)

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