Currently, tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables eaten by Americans. Tomatoes are members of the fruit family, but they are served and prepared as a vegetable. This is why most people consider them a vegetable and not a fruit. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A.
There are thousands of tomato varieties. The most widely available varieties are classified in three groups: cherry, plum, and slicing tomatoes. A new sweet variety like the cherry tomato is the grape tomato, really wonderful to eat alone or in a salad.
How To Select
Cold temperatures damage tomatoes, so never buy tomatoes that are stored in a cold area. Choose plump tomatoes with smooth skins that are free from bruises, cracks, or blemishes. Depending on the variety, ripe tomatoes should be completely red or reddish-orange.
Store tomatoes at room temperature (above 55 degrees) until they have fully ripened. This will allow them to ripen properly and develop good flavor and aroma. Try to store tomatoes out of direct sunlight, because sunlight will cause them to ripen unevenly. If you must store them for a longer period of time, place them in the refrigerator. Serve them at room temperature. Chopped tomatoes can be frozen for use in sauces or other cooked dishes.
Makes 4 servings.
2 ripe tomatoes
Oregano, fresh or dried to taste
Lemon pepper, to taste
Slice tomatoes in half, lengthwise. Prepare coals. Cover grill grid with foil. Place tomatoes on foil and sprinkle with oregano and lemon pepper. Grill tomatoes with cut side down, over hot coals for about 4-5 minutes.
Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: Calories 20, Total Fat 0.4g, Saturated Fat 0g, Carbohydrates 4g, Protein 0.8g, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 1g, Sodium 26mg, Carbohydrates 71 %, Protein 14 %, Fat 15 %.
Stuffed with Snow Peas
Makes 4 servings.
4 ripe tomatoes
3/4 pounds snow peas
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Cut tops from tomatoes. Using a curved grapefruit knife, hollow centers. Stand tomatoes upside down to drain. In a covered steamer basket over boiling water, steam snow peas for 1-2 minutes, or until crisp and tender. Drain. Arrange vertically in tomato shells.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 34, Total Fat 0.5g, Saturated Fat 0g, Carbohydrates 7g, Protein 1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 1g, Sodium 14mg, Carbohydrates 74 %, Protein 14 %, Fat 12 %.
Makes 6 servings.
6 large tomatoes
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium-sized red onion, minced
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 to 3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped (to taste)
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped or 2 tsp. dried basil
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste
To peel the tomatoes, submerge them in boiling water for 15 seconds. Place into a colander and rinse under cold water. The skins should slip right off. Core the tomatoes and gently squeeze out the seeds. Chop half of the tomatoes coarsely and puree the other half in a food processor. Combine the puree and chopped tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Blend the remaining ingredients with the tomatoes. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serve chilled; garnish with herbed croutons if desired. This is an official 5 A Day Recipe.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 99, Fat 5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 3g, Sodium 20mg.
Makes 8 servings.
1 cup finely chopped, peeled tomato
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup yellow or red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
2 Tbsp. vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1–3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (use caution; wear rubber gloves and do not rub your eyes when chopping peppers)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, optional
Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
analysis per serving: Calories 14, Total Fat 0.12g, Saturated Fat 0g, Carbohydrates
3.3g, Protein 0.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 0.7g, Sodium 95mg,
Carbohydrates 80 %, Protein 13 %, Fat 7 %.