Tomatoes fresh from the field are the star of summer meals! Although the tomato is associated closely with Italy, it is interesting to note that tomato sauce wasn’t paired with pasta until the mid-1700’s and the tomato didn’t become widely popular until the 1800’s.
There’s been a lot of press in recent years for the health promoting properties of tomatoes. This has mainly concerned the lycopene they contain, a substance that gives tomatoes their red color. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant and is believed to be an effective protector against the development of cancers and heart disease. Lycopene is particularly abundant near the skin of the tomato and is said to be more readily absorbed when cooked with certain oils – particularly olive oil.
This year we are growing several varieties of slicing tomatoes, perfect for thick slices on your BLT or featured in any of your favorite tomato recipes:
-Cosmonaut Volkov: Produces medium sized, 8-12 oz, red globe fruit.
-Goldie Yellow: Large 16oz beefsteak-type golden yellow fruit.
-Cherokee Purple: One of our favorite heirloom varieties. It’s fruit has deep brick-red skin and a dark red interior.
-Garden Peach: A perfect snacking heirloom tomato. It has small (2oz) light yellow fruit with fuzzy ‘peach-like’ skin.
Selection and Storage: The best test of a great tomato, even more than its color, is aroma – smell them and you should be able to inhale strong, sweet acid tomato wafts. Keep tomatoes at room temperature until ripe, and then use within a day or two. Don’t refrigerate them, as it will affect their flavor.
Preparation: So many recipes tell the cook to peel the tomatoes, but many neglect to explain how. In most dishes that utilize tomatoes, removing the skin is a necessary refinement. Using a small, sharp knife, cut a small cross-shaped incision into the base of your tomatoes, then drop them, a few at a time, into a saucepan of boiling water. Leave them for about 20 seconds, then remove them with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge them into iced water. Pull the skin away, starting at the incision; it should come off very easily.
Information from: The Produce Bible by Leanne Kitchen