Life is good when you have a tomato plant. Imagine, the warmth of the summer days ripening juicy, sweet tomatoes right in your own backyard. If you’re not lucky enough to have straight-from-the-vine tomatoes to top your taco, no worries because in this day and age, tomatoes are available year-round. But there is no better time to indulge in tomatoes than now, when they are at their peak, giving flavor and flesh that can’t ever compete with ones grown in artificial conditions. Take advantage of this time and enjoy.
Tomatoes tantalize many tastebuds, flavoring favorite dishes from far corners of the world. Aside from the culinary qualities, a tomato also provides excellent nutrition for your body. It’s packed with immunity-building vitamin C, a key antioxidant that also helps skin to heal. Tomatoes also contain vitamin A to help with healthy vision. If that’s not enough, you’ll also help your bones out from the vitamin K.
Eating different colors help different parts of your body. Tomatoes come in a spectrum of colors, from orange, to white, to even purple, but it’s the trademark deep red color that packs the tomato with another cancer-preventing antioxidant, lycopene. Usually, foods lose nutritional value the more that it’s cooked, but with tomatoes, the percentage of lycopene actually increases. Lycopene helps prevent cell-damage and heart disease, and it protects our DNA. To increase the lycopene even more, choose organic tomatoes and tomato products.
Tomatoes can take over just about any dish. This fruit-by-nature, vegetable-by-affiliation cools us down during the hot times, so try out these tips to get some tomatoes on your plate:
- Fatten it up. Eat your tomatoes with healthy fats, like olive oil or avocados, in order for your body to absorb the lycopene properly and get the full effect.
- On top of spaghetti…all covered with cheese. What would pasta be like without the tomato? Want to make a sauce from scratch? M.I.S.S. got you covered! Tomatoes are also sooooo good with homecooked mac ‘n cheese.
- Pair it with bread. From bruschetta to the B.L.T., tomatoes go great with bread. Add it to a grilled cheese or just ham and cheese. And you can’t forget about pizza!
- Dipped in sauce. Ketchup has got to be the most popular dipping sauce, providing lycopene to fast food fanatics everywhere.
- Mix it in. Tomatoes are a great addition to any salad, from a garden salad to macaroni. Many great salsas also use tomatoes as their key ingredient.
- Save it for a cold day. Tomatoes make the best soups, from a bisque to minestrone to gazpacho.
- Get some in the morning. Try chopped tomatoes in an omelet or in a savory crepe.
- Chug it down. It wouldn’t be a bloody mary without the blood. Drinking tomatoes might not be your cup of tea, but grab some low-sodium V-8 and give it a try.
It seems as if tomatoes have always been a key ingredient for more than just food. While it’s a total waste to let tomatoes turn over ripe, there’s no need to toss them to the trash, or even to the compost. Do as the Spanish do, and take it to the streets. La Tomatina, a week long festival that ends with a huge food fight, uses a specific breed of tomato that’s unsuitable for cuisine but perfect for messy fun! Just make sure you take off your kicks beforehand.
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