Nature’s perfect food? It’s hard to argue with the tomato. From July through September, this luscious fruit is a favorite of foodies and localvores. Easy to prepare and full of surprises the tomato is a fruit that delivers big taste and big health benefits. That’s why this month is a great time to focus on things ripe, red and delicious.
Since it ‘tis the season to enjoy this fruit, why not try something new? Here are a few suggestions:
‘¢ Green Zebra: A tangy, seeded tomato, this beauty is ripe when green. Don’t think this lovely fruit is sour or un-ripe or only suitable for a fried sandwich; these striped creations are perfect for slicing into wedges on your summer salads.
‘¢ Garden Peach: A fruit with a slightly fuzzy yellow/pink skin this tomato is made to go the distance. Here’s the good news, according to the Hepworth site, these tomatoes will slowly ripen over several months and provide great-tasting fruit for part of the winter.
‘¢ Costaluto Genovese: A handsome tomato, there is nothing round or outwardly perfect about this fruit. The ruffled edges and slightly flattened shape deliver a rich flavor with a delightfully asymmetrical appearance.
While at peak perfection, the summer tomato needs no dressing or accompaniment to taste divine. However, tomatoes lend themselves beautifully to so many summer meals. One can’t deny the timeless elegance of a classic caprese salad. Creating the caprese is very simple. Simply add a handful of your favorite in-season heirloom to your cart, a batch of fresh basil and some buffalo mozzarella. At home layer the three ingredients (note they match the colors on the Italian flag), drizzle with olive oil and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
According to Wikipedia, the salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo for regulars out for a light lunch. This salad continues to be a starter, not a side dish. They’d order a just-picked tomato and fresh fior di latte (cow’s-milk mozzarella ‘ no buffalo on Capri). Purists disparage the addition of vinegar to the mix. The thinking is that the strong flavor overpowers the cheese and hides the already tangy tomato essence. What do you think?
If the taste wasn’t enough to convince you to add a few extra tomatoes to your cart, there’s heaps of health research that might tempt you. Tomatoes are known for their lycopene–an antioxidant with proven to aid in cancer and heart disease prevention. Lycopene helps protect cells from oxygen damage and has been linked in human research to the protection of DNA. Eat well and live well! Note a huge thank you to our photographer! All photos by Kevin Ryan photography
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