We say good things for your palate
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
Ripe, red, and juicy is there anything as luscious as a tomato picked from the vine? Try our tomato recipes for a light summer lunch or dinner.
Among the foods that gardeners and gastronomes fawn over, local tomatoes are usually at the top of the list. Whether red, orange, yellow, or even purple—flashy, fragrant, and deliciously juicy seasonal tomatoes are a tribute to the taste that summer sunshine provides.
In nutritional terms, bringing home a pile of sun-kissed tomatoes in their various shapes and sizes from the market can provide a big payoff. Summer’s quintessential vegetable (or fruit, depending on your interpretation of botany) delivers a range of nutrients including
vitamins A and K, and healthy amounts of vitamin C.
A recent investigation in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that higher blood levels of vitamin C may bolster brain functioning, likely through its antioxidant prowess. Other research has honed in on vitamin C’s ability to improve bone mineral density, which may translate into stronger bones.
Of course, tomatoes have long gained recognition for their significant levels of the potent antioxidant lycopene. A number of studies suggest that higher intakes of this carotenoid may help lessen the risk of developing a number of different cancers including colorectal, prostate, skin, and breast. It turns out that the skin of the tomato is where much of the antioxidant firepower is located.
These tomato-filled recipes are a perfect way to use up those ripe-this-very-minute juicy orbs.
When you get your tomatoes home, resist the urge to toss them into the refrigerator. Cold temperatures are known to diminish a tomato’s flavour. Instead, keep them on the counter, stem side down and away from direct sunlight.
Play the field
Take one bite of a local, in-season tomato and it’s immediately clear that they are worth the year-long wait. When shopping for them, be sure to choose several types, as each variety offers a different texture and flavour experience to add flair to your summer menu.
Selecting heirloom varieties such as Cherokee Purple, Green Zebras, and Brandywines that have been grown from seeds handed down over generations is also an ideal way to support local growers and help encourage botanical diversity.
Supermarkets often choose tomatoes for their aesthetic appeal. But those vine-ripe frumpy and creviced ones mounded precariously atop a rough hewn wooden table at the market are a taste sensation not to be missed.