Tomatoes

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More Tomatoes Information

Tomatoes were originally native to South America, though they are now most closely associated with Italian cooking.

They grow extremely well in Mediterranean countries.  You can also achieve a respectable harvest of cherry tomatoes in a tub – or larger varieties in a green house or conservatory.

They are a member of the deadly nightshade family of plants, which includes potatoes, aubergine and peppers. Though thought of as a vegetable, they are technically a berry.

A fresh tomato is a great source of vitamin C and vitamin A.

Tomatoes are also one of the best sources of lycopene, which has cancer-fighting properties. Lycopene is more easily absorbed by the body in a lightly cooked form, so fresh tomato sauces are a great way to eat this. If you prefer raw tomatoes, include a little olive oil in the recipe, which will also help with absoption.

 

What To Do With Tomatoes

How To Skin Tomatoes

  • Wash the tomatoes
  • Make 2 cuts in each tomato, about an inch across
  • Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for about 1 minute
  • Drain carefully and plunge into cold water for about 1 minute
  • This should cause the skins to split and curl, making it easier to peel them
  • Pull the skins off with your fingers. Use a sharp knife to loosen any stubborn pieces

 

Little Known Tomatoes Facts

How To Ripen Tomatoes

  • Wash and dry the tomatoes. Discard any with splits or bruises
  • Put the tomatoes in a paper bag or in a drawer lined with paper
  • Add a ripe banana to the drawer. It emits a chemical that will speed up the ripening process
  • After a few days, the tomatoes will be ripening
  • Use them as soon as you can, or chop and freeze for later use

 

Stunningly Simple Tomato Salad
A simple tomato salad, making the most of in-season tomatoes. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to grow the tomatoes, spring onions and basil yourself – even if you don’t have a garden. They’ll all do well in pots, if they have to. 

This salad is quick to make and will even improve in flavour if you make it a couple of hours ahead, as the dressing marinades the tomatoes.

Ingredients
Serves 4 as a starter or side dish 

  • 500g (1/2 lb) fresh tomatoes – the more flavour the better.
  • 5 spring onions
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Approx 20 basil leaves (fresh)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Method 

  1. Skin the tomatoes, if you’re fussed & they’re large and tough-skinned, rather than cherry-sized
  2. Slice them and arrange them on the serving dish
  3. Finely chop the spring onions and arrange over the tomatoes
  4. Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the tomatoes and spring onions
  5. Top with torn basil leaves.
  6. Add salt & pepper, if you wish.
Cupboard-To-Table5 minutes.
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