I can’t even explain how much I love tomatoes. I haven’t met a tomato dish I have never liked. If I live to 100 years old, I will give credit to tomatoes. There’s nothing like eating tomatoes fresh from the garden or farmers market.
Some of you may never like tomatoes and others, like my husband have grown to like tomatoes. Friends of mine only like tomatoes in sauce or mixed foods. That’s okay, each of us has different taste buds and you either love them or they are just in some of the foods you eat.
Tomatoes technically are a fruit, but are categorized in the vegetable group. Tomatoes are not the only ones to share this talent. Bell peppers, egg plant, avocado, pumpkin, green peas, olives and okra are also categorized this way.
This vegetable/fruit is 95% water, has 5% carbohydrates as well as fiber. A medium size tomato has 18-22 calories. Tomatoes also are a very good source of vitamins C, A and K, potassium and folate.
The redder the tomato the more lycopene they have in them. Lycopene is the antioxidant tomatoes have that fights off free radical cancer invaders. When lycopene is mixed with oil it is linked to a reduced risk in heart disease and prostate cancer. These are some reasons why tomato sauce is good for you.
Tomatoes are in so many dishes. You can eat them plain, big or small, in pico de gallo, salsa, bruschetta, or throw them in pasta dishes, eggs, salads, soups, sandwiches, sauces, chili, Italian dishes and of course pizza. So delicious! I am pretty sure I eat tomatoes three times a week and in the summer every day.
When tomatoes start ripening in the garden many are eaten fresh and put in my daily cooking. The rest I freeze. I am lazy. I don’t make sauce or salsa, I just freeze my tomatoes. I freeze them because I don’t get enough to ripen at a once to can them.
How to freeze Tomatoes:
When I gather enough tomatoes my freezing begins. I boil water in a big pot to blanch them until the skin looks like it could come off, 1-3 minutes. You can freeze tomatoes with the skins on, but my family likes them without. Dump off hot water and put tomatoes in a sink of cold water until cool to the touch. Begin peeling off the skins and cut into quarters or chunks and place in freezer containers or freezer bags. I usually measure 2-4 cups into each container. Label and freeze them.
When it’s time to use the tomatoes for a recipe calling for a can of tomatoes, I usually don’t remember in time to take out of the freezer. I defrost in the microwave in a large bowl until ready. My kids don’t love tomato chucks. What happened to my kids? They didn’t get my tomato love gene. I use my hand stick blender and blend them down so they won’t complain.
One can of diced tomatoes equals two cups frozen tomatoes. These are used best in chili and soup and many more recipes. In fact chili doesn’t taste as good unless you put frozen tomatoes in it.
Pico de gallo is one of my favorite ways to use fresh tomatoes from the garden. I make this many times in August through September. My friend told me once as I was talking to her, “You’ve been eating pico again haven’t you?” Watch your breath!
This recipe is from a friend who gave it to a friend who gave it to me.
Pico de gallo
10 Roma tomatoes (I have used regular tomatoes). Roma tomatoes are meatier and less juicy.
½ onion finely chopped
½ – 1 bunch cilantro chopped fine- depends on taste and size of bunch.
2 tsp minced garlic
1-2 jalapeno peppers chopped finely with no seeds. Cut in half and use a spoon to scrape out seeds. Don’t touch inside and wipe your eyes or face. No pepper is universal in hotness.
1 Tbsp lime juice
¼-1/2 tsp salt
Stir it up and get ready for chips, especially the scoop ones. Keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a week. When does mine last that long? If you do have extra, freeze and then add to your chili.
I Love Tomatoes!
What is your favorite way to eat tomatoes? Comment and share with others.