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Fresh Tomato Day is on its Way!

April 1, 2012

This Friday, April 6th, is Fresh Tomato Day!  Did you know that tomatoes are actually a fruit not a vegetable?  They contain little seeds which put them in the fruit category but have the versatility of a vegetable.  The tomato has nutrients that can lower hypertension, reduce the risk of cancer, treat urinary tract infections, help with eye sight, and give a glowing skin complexion.  Tomatoes are most known for their high lycopene content.  Lycopene eliminates cancerous free radicals in the body.  This cancer fighting antioxidant actually gives tomatoes that rich red color.

Selecting and Storing Tomatoes:

Select smooth, bruise-free, firm tomatoes with vibrant color.  If your tomatoes are not fully ripe, store away from direct sunlight in cool temperature.  Refrigerate only when ripe.  Keep tomatoes for no more than one week.

Using Tomatoes:

So, exactly how versatile is this vegetable…I mean fruit?  There’s tomato juice, tomato paste, tomato sauce, ketchup, tomato soup, even a movie called ‘Fried Green Tomatoes!’  I’ll stop there.  Here are a few tasty tomato ideas.

  •  Tomatoes are at their freshest in the spring and summer.  So, now is the perfect time to grill them.  Cut tomatoes in half and lightly coat with olive oil. Add your own flavor with herbs and spices.
  •  Salsa is a tasty way to use tomatoes.  Chop up tomatoes and onion and minced garlic cloves.  Add chili powder, salt and pepper.  Include jalapeños if you like it spicy and lemon for additional flavor.  Enjoy your homemade salsa with baked whole wheat tortilla chips.
  •  Don’t forget to add tomatoes to your sandwiches, salads and wraps!

Even though the weather is getting warmer, I enjoy soup all year round.  Here is one of my favorites….with non-other than TOMATO!

Spiced Tomato Basil Soup

Serves: 8

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large carrot, chopped

1 leek, chopped (white part only)

1 large scallion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

5 large ripe tomatoes

4 cups veggie stock

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions

1. In a soup pot, heat the oil; add the carrots, leek, scallion and garlic.  Sauté, stirring

often, for 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, veggie stock, salt, basil, thyme, pepper and bay leaf.

3. Bring to a boil, then lower heat.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Remove bay leaf.  Puree soup using an immersion blender until smooth (for an

even smoother consistency, strain through a sieve).

5. Garnish with basil.

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per serving: 60

There are unlimited ways to add tomatoes to your meals.  Spark up some creativity and let me know how you use tomatoes.  Enjoy Fresh Tomato Day!

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