Well, tomatoes are in season and going cheap. Even when they are not in season the tomato is a go-to ingredient for me year-round.
When tomatoes are in season
When tomatoes are in season and cheap, and I am trying to be good, I eat baby tomatoes as a snack instead of other sweet things. I also enjoy making fresh tomato sauces for gnocchi and other pastas. I simply roast them with garlic, rosemary, thyme or any other herb available this brings out an intense and sweet flavour. Then I puree/blitz them in the food processor and combine with slowly sauteed onions and leeks. I make big batches of this and some goes into the freezer for the colder months.
Of course home grown tomatoes are full of an intense flavour and fun to grow, but because they can easily be grown commercially fresh tomatoes are available year round. I think the health benefits of tomatoes warrant them being eaten all year round, either fresh or tinned. Tomatoes are loaded with vitamins such as A, C and E. They are a great source of potassium and calcium, but their greatest claim to fame is their lycopene content. This is an antioxidant that helps lower cholesterol and protect us against strokes, cancer and heart attacks.
Our bodies can access the benefits of lycopene more easily from cooked tomatoes. Here are some ideas for getting more cooked tomatoes into your diet:
• Tomato risotto – use tinned tomatoes to replace some of the stock
•Sausage casserole – tinned tomatoes or tomato soup replaces water/stock
•Curries – try tinned tomatoes instead of stock/coconut milk or add tomato paste to thicken
•Home made pizza – use tomato paste and top with chopped, deseeded fresh tomatoes then add favourite pizza toppings
•Try to use tomato based sauces instead of cream sauces for pasta
•Try this recipe for our smoky eggplant and tomato sauce
•Tinned tomatoes, garlic and onions make a very quick tomato soup for lunches.
Mummy to three small boys