Welcome to another Seasonal Recipe Round-Up! This time we’re featuring tomatoes (and next time is squash — see schedule below). I’m sharing my tips about tomatoes and you can participate by sharing your own tips and/or recipes in the comments.
What are Tomatoes?
Rich in lycopene (an antioxidant) and Vitamin C, tomatoes are in the nightshade family of plants (which also includes potatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, and cayenne). According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, tomatoes are not native Italian (surprising, isn’t it?):
Although tomatoes are often closely associated with Italian cuisine, they are actually originally native to the western side of South America, in the region occupied by Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the western half of Bolivia. The Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador are also believed to be part of tomatoes’ native area. The first type of tomato grown is thought to have more resembled the smaller-sized cherry tomato than the larger varieties. —Tomatoes: World’s Healthiest Foods
The world enjoys hundreds of varieties of tomatoes — not all red. You’ll find reds, yes, but also yellows, oranges, purples, greens, striped and speckled. Heirloom tomatoes are gorgeous — and gloriously shaped, too!
Photo by See-ming Lee on Flickr
How to Choose and Use Tomatoes
Deep colors are the name of the game. Firm, not mushy. Juicy — though paste tomatoes are more “meaty” and less juice and that makes them excellent for preserving.
When tomatoes are in season, eat fresh! Salads, sliced and salted and peppered with cottage cheese… Nothing better. Come on tomatoes! (Ours are still little and green.)
One thing I learned when I put in my first garden was that tomatoes are best kept at room temperature for fresh eating. Storing them in the refrigerator causes you to lose tons of flavor!
Add to soups, or make fragrant, fresh tomato sauce: saute onions and garlic, add chopped tomatoes and chopped fresh herbs, simmer, then season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Tomatoes are a big canning food — here’s how I’ve done it. Warning you, though, that’s a very old post wayyyy back when I didn’t know much about blogging. 😉
In more recent times, I choose to dehydrate excess tomatoes. Simply slice 1/4″ and dry under 115 degrees Fahrenheit until dry. Then vac seal and/or store in cool and dry location. They can be soaked in water and blended to make sauce or paste (depending on how much water you use). Or, you can powder them when dry to store in even smaller spaces.
My Tomato Recipes
Here are some of the tomato recipes I’ve shared on this blog.
Mediterranean Cucumber-Tomato-Mint Salad. I make this a lot during the summer when tomatoes and cucumbers are in season.
Cucumber-Tomato Salad with Kefir (or Yogurt). Same idea as above, but toss the salad in yogurt or kefir instead of olive oil and lemon juice. Season with dill or basil, sea salt and pepper.
Tomato Sandwiches! My sourdough pocket bread comes from the Sourdough eCourse or Sourdough A to Z eBook. Load the halves up with hummus or kefir/yogurt cheese and cucumbers and tomatoes. Or what about my mom’s award-winning falafel, tahini sauce, tomatoes, and cucumbers? Any way you fill them, they’re delicious!
Quinoa Garden Salad. Using the dump method (dump all ingredients in bowl and toss), this salad lets you use everything your garden (or market) produces!
Arabic Meatloaf. This meatloaf, kiftet batatta (meatloaf with potatoes), is topped with potatoes and tomato sauce for an easy main dish and features spring parsley.
Nikki’s Lacto-Fermented Roma Fresca. Use Roma Fresca on top of steaks, fish, or chicken for a mouth watering combination. Or, with chips as a mild salsa. You’ll find more fermented salsa recipes in my book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods and in my online class in Lacto-Fermentation.
Erin’s Sprouted Lentil Slaw. Delicious! A highly popular recipe here.
Smoked Salmon and Rice Salad. Another winner from Erin. Her recipes are lovely, aren’t they?
Canning Tomatoes. This is that very old post I mentioned above. Consider yourself warned — I was a newbie blogger. 😉
Now it is your turn!
How to Participate in the Seasonal Recipe Round-Up
Bloggers and non-bloggers, feel free to add a comment here with your favorite recipes or posts.
Please use real, whole ingredients in recipes, and preferably traditional methods of preparation. Whole ingredients means whole grains, vegetables, legumes, meats, and unrefined sweeteners. In order to keep the integrity of “nourishing” food, I will delete any recipes that use processed, boxed foods. Where possible, incorporate traditional methods of preparation, like soaking, sprouting and fermenting. The idea here is that your recipes and tips should help our readers find traditional methods for preparing seasonal vegetables.
Share Your Tomato Recipes and Tips!
Seasonal Recipe Round-Up Schedule: July through August
Remember, the round-ups don’t close — you can add your recipes at any time. And I hope you will!
- Friday, July 6, 2012 — Snap Peas
- Friday, July 20, 2012 — Cucumbers
- Friday, August 3, 2012 — Berries
- Friday, August 17, 2012 — Tomatoes
- Friday, August 31, 2012 — Squash
All seasonal recipe round-ups are (and will be) listed on the Recipes page.
Come back on Friday, August 31 for our squash (including zucchini) link-up in the Seasonal Recipe Round-Up.
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