Summer is the best season for juicy and flavorful tomatoes. One of easiest yet delicious dishes using tomatoes is a simple caprese salad, perfect for a summer lunch or dinner!
2 large tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Cut the tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/4 inch thick slices. Then on a plate layer in alternating fashion the mozzarella and tomato slices. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar. Then decorate the top with the fresh basil leaves and enjoy!
Tips: To make it more of a salad you can layer the mozzarella and tomatoes on a bed of fresh arugula or spinach. You can also drizzle olive oil over the salad or add olives for additional flavor.
Tomatoes are often incorrectly referred to as a vegetable when in fact they are part of the berry family! Originating from Central and South America, this fruit started spreading around the globe in the 16th century. In addition to being delicious, tomatoes offer a variety of health benefits. They are rich in the antioxidant lycopene which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers. A study from Cornell University even found that cooking tomatoes increases the amount of lycopene content that the body can absorb. The fruit is also rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, as well as potassium and folate. In the kitchen, tomatoes are extremely versatile as they can be eaten raw, roasted, used in salads, sandwiches, sauces and many other dishes. The current summer months are the best time to enjoy this delicious fruit!
Many Metabolic Balance clients have little or no tomato listed on their personal nutrition plans. There are a few different reasons why this might be the case. First, tomatoes naturally contain glutamate and other fruit acids which have an appetizing effect. Secondly, tomatoes contain oxalic acid (similar to rhubarb, beetroot and spinach). This is known to bind to calcium, and thus, it reduces the availability of calcium for absorption and hence for the body to use. People suffering from gout, rheumatism and with histamine intolerance are advised to avoid tomatoes, or at least eat them only occasionally.
Today, we are sharing research about tomatoes. UC Davis has a great link page to articles about tomatoes focusing mostly on growing and tomato issues. We are only sharing information about eating and cooking with tomatoes but if you are interested in tomatoes, you can follow the main link to the extensive list.
- The first article we thought you might like reading is about the difference between tomatoes grown under commercial organic and conventional production systems. In this article, it states that 43% of people buy organic because of taste, 28% because of ideology and 24% because of animal welfare friendly production. The study only looked at four growers so their information while extensive is not enough to make strong conclusions. The study found that their is an increased flavour in organic tomatoes and reduced energy requirements to make juice but the red color is not as intense and there is less ascorbic acid adn total phenolics.
- There are 100s of different types of tomatoes. Here is a link to a list of varieties you can grow. They are organized by variety, shape or skin color. My favorite names are Burpee’s Big Boy, Chalks Early Jewel, Cream Sausage, Fried Green Tomato, Green Grape, Lollipop and Mr. Ugly. I am thinking it may be time to start planning a garden filled with tomatoes just so I can say I’m growing some lollipops and Mr. Uglies.
- Tomatoes and their effects on prostate cancer. The first article is a Prospective study of tomatoe Products, Lycopene and Prostate Cancer. The next article related to cancer and tomatoes is Lycopene/tomato consumption and the risk of prostate cancer.
- If you want to make Dun dried tomatoes using an oven or the sun, here is a link to a recipe you can use.
Photo of tomatoes by Jeremy Segrott