In Season: July to September
Plump juicy tomatoes are a star of the market in the summer. When allowed to ripen on the vine and harvested just before market, tomatoes rarely resemble their grocery store relatives. Test out the many different heirloom varieties at market that range widely in colour, shape and taste. For fun, buy a variety of different kinds and hold your own tomato tasting with your family or friends. You'll be amazed at the differences. Tomatoes have a million uses but ripe market tomatoes are best eaten raw in salads, on sandwiches or just on their own. Ask your market vendor for suggestions on what the different types are best for. Tomatoes pair well with almost anything however, classic pairings include; olive oil, basil, mozzarella and Parmesans cheeses, garlic, onions, oregano, corn , eggplant and cucumbers. Roma or paste tomatoes are delicious slow roasted.
Don't put your tomatoes in the refrigerator! Refrigerating them reduces their flavour and texture. Store tomatoes at room temperature and out of the sun. Tomatoes are ready when they smell fragrant and yield to a thumb. If you have under rip tomatoes, keep them in a paper bag until ready. Tomatoes can be frozen in sauces, dried, canned (stewed or whole) or made into salsas.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a phytochemical found in the red pigment of the tomatoes, which has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Tomatoes are low in Sodium, and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. They are also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium and Manganese.