By: Paige Tautkas, Keene State College Dietetic Intern 2019-2020
In 1893, the Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes belong in the vegetable family even though they are technically classified as a fruit; more specifically a member of the berry family! With over one-hundred types of tomatoes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, the choices are endless!
You’ve probably heard of cherry, beefsteak and roma tomatoes, but do you know the difference between an heirloom tomato and a hybrid tomato? Heirloom tomatoes are characterized by their unique shapes, colors, flavor, and acidity. Heirloom tomatoes have been cultivated for generations and the seeds always produce the same variety. A hybrid tomato, on the other hand, is created by cross-pollinating two different tomato varieties. Hybrid tomatoes are often disease resistant and produce high yields.
Tomatoes can be found year-round at your local grocery store or you can purchase them at their peak ripeness from a New England farmers market between the months of July-October. If you have a green-thumb, you can take a stab at growing your own fresh tomatoes in a garden or on your porch! Here is a link with some excellent advice on how to get started growing your own tomatoes: https://www.thespruce.com/top-tomato-growing-tips-1402587
Ripe tomatoes should be stored at room temperature, preferably out of direct sunlight. Storing tomatoes in the refrigerator is not recommended due to the impact cold temperatures have on their flavor and texture. When it comes to long term storage, tomatoes can be frozen, canned and even dehydrated! These methods provide you with delicious tomatoes that can be used in any recipe! Try freezing a dozen whole tomatoes in an airtight ziplock bag which can be used for a last-minute stew, soup or sauce.
Although tomatoes are low in calories, they are abundant in nutrients including potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folic acid and fiber. Tomatoes also contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps combat the inflammation and stress our bodies undergo on a daily basis! When it comes to preparing tomatoes, the list is endless and even the pickiest eater can find a tomato recipe that they enjoy!! During the warm summer months, some of the best preparation ideas include grilling, pickling, frying, marinating, and last but not least- enjoying a raw tomato. Here is a delicious and creative recipe to try the next time you pick up some tomatoes:
Fresh Herb and Tomato Crostini
Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Servings: 20 Crostini
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 (8.5-oz.) French bread baguette, cut into 1/4- inch-thick slices
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 large tomato, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup finely chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
How to Make It:
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Stir together olive oil and garlic; brush on 1 side of each bread slice.
- Place bread slices, garlic sides up, on a baking sheet.
- Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly toasted.
“Tomatoes: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve & Enjoy.” University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, ucanr.edu/sites/MFPOC/Food_Preservation/Tomatoes/.
“The Complete Guide To Every Type Of Tomato.” Nature Fresh Farms, 29 Nov. 2019, www.naturefresh.ca/types-of-tomatoes-guide/.
“Fresh Herb-Tomato Crostini.” MyRecipes, www.myrecipes.com/recipe/fresh-herb-tomato-crostini.