Tomatoes lip smacking good this time of year

I love this time of the year. Fresh fruits and fresh vegetables are in abundance and they are ever so nice to eat and especially in salads.

I love this time of the year.

Fresh fruits and fresh vegetables are in abundance and they are ever so nice to eat and especially in salads.

The tomatoes at this time of the year are lip smacking good.

Tomatoes were not cultivated in North America until the 1700s, and then only in home gardens. In colonial America (1620-1763), tomatoes were thought to be poisonous and were grown as an ornamental plant called the “love apple.” The odor of the leaves made people think it was poisonous. There are more than 4,000 varieties of tomatoes, ranging from the small, marble-size cherry tomato to the giant Ponderosa that can weigh more than three pounds. Tomatoes don’t develop adequate flavour unless allowed to ripen on the vine. Seek out locally grown tomatoes whenever possible.

They may not be as “pretty” as store bought, but beauty, of course, is only skin deep. Never refrigerate fresh tomatoes.

A cold temperature makes the flesh of a tomato pulpy and destroys the flavour. To ripen, place green or unripened tomatoes in a brown paper bag and place in a dark spot for three or four days, depending on the degree of greenness. Do not put tomatoes in the sun to ripen — this softens them. The simplest way to preserve tomatoes is to freeze them whole.

Just rinse them, spread them out on a cookie sheet, and freeze overnight. When frozen, put them in a freezer bag and return to the freezer. To use, remove from bag and thaw. When thawed, slip the skins off, and use in your favourite recipes. Here’s another way to preserve tomatoes.

Peel the tomatoes, puree them in a blender, and then strain them through cheesecloth or a coffee filter to drain off the excess tomato water (this can be used in soups).

Freeze the pulp in ice cube trays. When frozen, store the frozen cubes in a freezer bag. When cooking tomatoes…add a pinch of sugar …it enhances the flavour. To keep baked or stuffed tomatoes from collapsing, bake in greased muffin tins. The tins will give them some support as they cook.

 

 

 

Tomato Cajun Chicken Salad

1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp. thyme

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

½ cup non-fat plain yogurt

3 cups cubed, cooked chicken

1 cup thinly sliced green onion

½ cup diced green bell pepper

½ cup diced celery

3 cups (about 1 ½ lbs.) seeded and diced fresh tomatoes

Combine lemon juice and next five ingredients. Beat in yogurt.

Gently fold chicken and next three ingredients into dressing. Chill. Just before serving, fold in tomatoes.

I hope you have a very good weekend

Bye for now and GOOOD COOKING.