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Fresh Tomato Day

A Brief History





Did you know Fresh Tomato Day is on April 6 ? But, why not celebrate it any day of the year. The cultivated tomato evolved from the wild tomato which was very small in size. It was smaller than cherry tomatoes and the Aztecs used it in 700 A.D. for cooking.


Tomatoes arrived in Europe due to Spanish cooking and were a regular part of Spanish recipes. Many years ago tomatoes were believed to be bad for your health because of their acidic taste. Gardners only grew tomatoes as ornamental plants.


In 1889 the King and Queen of Naples had a special pizza made for them using tomatoes. In 2005 a newspaper mentioned Fresh Tomato Day for the first time. The tomato is a fruit not a vegetable. There are over 10,000 varieties of tomatoes.


Popular Type of Tomatoes Found In Your Local Supermarket


When you use tomatoes for new recipes the best place in to start at your local supermarket to buy them. The popular varieties taste good and can be used in many different recipes. Other places to purchase them are farm markets and health food stores.


Beefsteak Tomatoes


Photo Source: Flicker Jean L.



Beefsteak tomatoes are large red tomatoes, easy to slice, and delicious to eat raw. These tomatoes go well in salads, on wraps, sandwiches ,and subs. There are several varieties of beef steak tomato. It has firm flesh and often is described as meaty. It is easy to slice because the skin is thin. Use it in salads or on your favorite sandwich.


Plum Tomatoes


Photo Source: Wikipedia



Plum tomatoes are red dense oblong shaped tomatoes. These tomatoes were cultivated for use in sauces. Most supermarket carry the Roma variety but you can ask the produce manager which variety they carry. Other varieties are San Marzano, and Amish Paste. These tomatoes are primarily use to make tomato sauce and product like ketchup. Five to six plum tomatoes make 1 pound.


Cherry Tomatoes


Photo Source: Flicker Dwight Sipler


Cherry tomatoes are small round or oblong tomatoes grown in clusters. The come in a variety of colors red, green, yellow, white and orange. They are ideal in salads, roasted, and using to make kebobs. These tomatoes are used on pizza and sometimes sun dried for use on salads.


Tomatoes on the Vine


Photo Source: Public Domain Pictures

Shelia Brown


These red tomatoes are usually small to medium size and sold connected by a vine, There are different varieties of farm raised tomatoes on the vine. The tomatoes are used for salads, sandwiches, and roasted. The roasted tomatoes are used on sandwiches, in salads, on pasta, and pizza.


Green Tomatoes


Photo Source: Public Domain Pictures

Svetlana Tikhonova



Green tomatoes are tart, acidic, and firm. One of the most popular ways they are made is Fried Green Tomatoes. The tomatoes are fried in flour and cornmeal. Green tomatoes are used in salsa, soups, and stews. Green tomatoes are not a good choice for tomato sauce.


Healthy Benefits of Tomatoes


Tomatoes contain 95% water and only 5% carbs. It is a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They contain lycopene a red pigment that is an antioxidant. It has been known to help lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Raw and canned tomatoes are a good source of lycopene.


Tomatoes should be ripened in a container with paper towel on the kitchen counter or stored in a cool place. If they are ripe they should be stored in the refrigerator for about 5 days and used up. When you take them out to use let the tomatoes get to room temperature before using.


When looking for a specific type of tomato in the supermarket or other store ask the staff to help you. They can give your information on how to use it and tips for cooking.


Recipes


Fresh Marinara Tomato Sauce



Photo Source: Public Domain Pictures


You will need a blender or food processor, colander, measuring cup, knife, cutting board, medium saucepan, spoon, and storage containers.


Ingredients:


1 pound or more of Roma plum tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil

1 or more cups of vegetable broth

Add salt or pepper to taste


Directions:


In a large bowl with warm water soak the tomatoes and basil for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander. Using a measuring cup use about 1/4 cup of basil for recipe. On a cutting board cut the tomatoes in half and put in blender. Puree and liquefy until they are processed.


On the stove over medium heat put one tablespoon olive oil and tomato puree. Chop the basil very fine and remove stems and discard. Add to sauce and stir with spoon. Add one cup of vegetable broth and turn heat down and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally Add more broth to keep from drying out. Take off burner and store in plastic container in the refrigerator.


Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese Antipasto Plate


You will need a large platter for salad, bowl to soak vegetables, colander, can opener, cutting board, potato peeler, bowl for roasted pepper, measuring cups and spoons.


Ingredients:


1 head of green or red leaf lettuce

4 tomatoes on the vine

1 package of goat cheese

1 large cucumber peeled and diced

1 can black olives pits removed drained

1 jar roasted red peppers

2 package smoked salmon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon minced vinegar


Directions:


In a large bowl or container soak vegetables in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander On a cutting board remove the core from the lettuce and discard. Chop into bite size pieces and put on large platter. Peel the cucumber and cut into rounds. Cut rounds in half. Drain the black olives and put them whole on the platter. Drain the roasted red peppers place on platter.


Dice the smoked salmon into bite sized put in small bowl or container add 1 tablespoon olive oil and lemon juice mix well. Add to platter. Serve with your favorite salad dressing. Serves 4.







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