It’s no secret, I’m not a fan of raw tomatoes. I’ve never liked them. In fact, I’m the black sheep of the family in regards to my dislike of tomatoes. With that being said, I believe that one day I will love raw tomatoes [growth mindset]. I do like cooked tomatoes of all kinds (except ketchup, yuck!). I am starting to like heirloom tomatoes in a caprese salad. I think the reason I don’t really like tomatoes is because of their strong flavor – it totally changes the taste of a burger, sandwich, or salad. Jennifer Tyler Lee and I are kindred spirits in this way. 🙂 The other fact that helps me feel justified in not liking raw tomatoes is that unless it’s summer, tomatoes are either grown in greenhouses or internationally, or are grown in Florida (Florida’s “soil” is actually just sand and is void of nutrients). So unless they are garden tomatoes or farmer’s market tomatoes, they are often mealy and are picked when green. The book Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit is fascinating. Highly recommended! Anywho… Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato pops! I recently made a cherry tomato chutney at a Sur la Table cooking class – it was delicious!
- They are technically a fruit!
- Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family (along with potatoes, eggplant, peppers- all kinds, and some spices). Nightshades are known to be inflammatory. Nightshades are commonly removed during a 5-R Protocol to determine food intolerances.
- There are over a THOUSAND different types of tomatoes and can be a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.
- Native to South America.
- The leaves of the tomato are toxic. It was long believed that tomatoes were poisonous because they belong to the nightshade family which houses other poisonous plants (poisonous nightshade and black henbane).
- Great source of vitamins B6, C, and K, carotenes (especially lycopene), beta-carotene, biotin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, niacin, and fiber.
- Lycopene content is FIVE times greater in cooked tomatoes because cooking causes the cell walls to burst and “free” the lycopene. Also, the redder and riper the tomato, the more lycopene content.
- Lycopene in particular has been shown to protect against cancers of the breast, colon, lung, skin, and prostate. Additionally, it has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
- Highest levels of vitamin C can be obtained from raw tomatoes.
- Fully ripe tomatoes cannot be shipped long distances. Therefore they are picked when underripe and then gassed with ethylene. You probably know what I’m going to say here….buy them at a local farmer’s market, CSA, or grown your own!
- Cherry tomatoes have more lycopene per ounce and are sweeter and more flavorful than their larger counterparts. Smaller is better!
From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipesby Jennifer Tyler Lee, Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Healthby Jo Robinson, Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Tonia Reinhard, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
July is here! I love July because it truly symbolizes summer for me. Although, this July I do have to work for a couple of weeks, generally, for teachers, July is the only month of year where there is actually no school. The other reason I love July is because all the wonderful fruit and vegetable options available in July.
Figs are top of my list of exciting fruits this month! And everyone loves when tomato season is here! I’m looking forward to caprese salads this summer – it brings me back to Italy! Yum! What are you looking forward to this July?
Hugs & Health <3,
The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Eggplant
Confession time, I don’t like eggplant at all. The texture is too mushy for me and flavor isn’t that great either. But I’d like to like it, so I’ll keep trying it and see if I can like it one day. Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests an eggplant stir fry or a grilled eggplant with a minty yogurt dip (the minty yogurt dip might be able to convince me).
- Cooking does not destroy the important nutrients of eggplan.
- It is a member of the nightshade family – a relative of tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes
- Good source of vitamins B1, B6, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, niacin, folic acid, copper, and thiamine
- Good source of fiber
- Rich source of antioxidants including phenols, anthocyanins, and plants sterols
- Lowers blood cholesterol levels
- Helps fight free radicals
- Have been shown to protect cell membranes
From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipesby Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods
by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Tonia Reinhard
October is finally here! I love PUMPKINS more than just about anything, so I am a excited that October is upon us. I’m not a PSL (pumpkin spice latte) girl, actually I don’t even drink coffee. I don’t like artificially flavored things, so even if I drank coffee, you couldn’t get me near it (no judgements if you are a PSL person)! With that said I do love to bake and cook with pumpkin puree.
My other favorite on this list is butternut squash. I’ll be posting my favorite butternut squash soup recipe soon. Keep your eyes peeled! What’s your favorite thing on the list?
Hugs & Health (and Pumpkins too!) <3
I LOVE eating seasonally for three main reasons. 1) Seasonal produce usually grows locally and is therefore fresher because it hasn’t traveled nearly as far as when it is not in season. 2) It promotes local jobs and boosts our local economy. 3) Seasonal produce TASTES significantly better than when it’s picked unripe in order to travel, then traveled for many days, and then gassed with ethylene gas to artificially ripen them. I make very few exceptions to my seasonal eating rule [frozen berries, bananas, plantains, and that’s pretty much it].
In Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle she discusses eating tomatoes so much while they are in season that you almost become
sick of them.
You don’t crave them as much during the offseason and you’re not tempted to eat a tasteless mealy tomato in January, because your tomato craving has been satiated for the year. I love this way to view it and have tried to really adopt this mentality since reading her book in 2011.
Go to your local farmer’s market this weekend and get some local food!
Health & Hugs <3,