it’s not too late for tomatoes!

It may be WAY late in the season for tomatoes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy them through the cold, winter months.  Many tomatoes are grown in hot houses, and while they may not be nearly as delicious as fresh-from-the vine tomatoes in the summer, they’re still excellent to cook and bake with.  When tomatoes aren’t in season, I tend to rely on the pints of cherry tomatoes for salads and canned tomatoes for everything else.  You can also buy Roma tomatoes and roast them yourself for better flavor!

-Tomatoes get their red color from the antioxidant lycopene. Tomatoes can come in other colors, including yellow, orange, green and even purpley-brown.

-Lycopene is found in higher concentrations in processed tomato products, such as canned tomatoes and sauces and ketchup.

-Tomatoes are a fruit because it, along with its seeds, is the berry of a flowering plant.  Other vegetables fall into this category, including eggplant, bell peppers and squash.

-Tomatoes are high in potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. A medium tomato only has 22 calories.

-Most tomatoes are harvested while green and allowed to ripen with artificial ethylene gas while being transported to the store, which turns their skins red but doesn’t develop flavor. Always try to get your tomatoes locally!

-When eaten with sources of healthy fat (like avocados or olive oil), the carotenoids in tomatoes are better absorbed in the body.

-Choose tomatoes that are bright red, heavy for their size and shiny. Store on the counter to preserve texture and flavor. Do not store in the refrigerator until cut.

-Maximize tomatoes’ flavor by chopping fresh tomatoes for pastas and sauces. In the winter months when fresh tomatoes aren’t available or as good, rely on good quality canned tomatoes to make sauces, or roast Roma tomatoes to concentrate their flavors.

-For a unique and healthy breakfast, cut the top off a tomato and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Crack an egg into the hollowed-out tomato and cook until the egg is set.  Add salt, pepper and torn basil or parmesan cheese for flavor.