You say tomato and we say yummy…

tomatoes- photos

A good tasting tomato is a glorious thing.  The trick is finding a good one.  This time of year fresh, great tasting tomatoes are overflowing at your local farmer’s markets.  Once you’ve tasted a locally grown tomato you’ll be hook.  They taste nothing like the store bought ones that have traveled for miles to get to the store.  Good news though, these days some large supermarket chains do sell local tomatoes.  Be on the lookout for the markets that do.

Next, once you’ve found great tasting tomatoes it’s important to know how to properly care for them.  Look for ones that are plump and feel heavy for their size.  They should yield to gentle pressure and should be free of cracks or hard green spots.  They should have a nice delicate feel, kind of like a baby’s skin.

A ripe tomato should lasts for 4-5 days without spoiling.  If you want some of them to last longer buy a mixture of ripe and a little under ripe ones that will be ready later in the week.

NEVER, ever, ever store tomatoes in the refrigerator…the cold will dull the flavor, destroy the sugars and give the tomato a mealy texture.  Store them at room temperature out of direct light.

Tomatoes are one of the best foods you can eat.  It seems like every day more is proven about the health benefits of  tomatoes.  They’re rich in lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that‘s been shown to help fight cancer cells.  Lycopene can also help reduce the risk of heart disease and cataracts.  They’re loaded with vitamin C and contain vitamins A and B, potassium and iron.  One medium size tomato has 35 calories and contains as much fiber as one slice of whole wheat bread.

All week I’ll be sharing some delicious recipe using tomatoes.  Be sure to try my Chilly Gazpacho Soup.  It’s one of my favorite ways to incorporate these gems!

Test your tomato knowledge:

1. is the tomato a fruit or vegetable?

2. Tomatoes are native to what country?

a. South America b. Spain c. Italy

3. The U.S. is second only to which country in tomato production?

a. China b. France c. Italy

4. In 1965, which state adopted tomato juice as its official state drink?

a. Alaska b. Florida c. Ohio

5. True or False: Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family, like potatoes and eggplant.

Answers- 1: fruit, 2: a, 3: c, 4: c, 5: true

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