Recipes from Tomatoland

Good Morning,  It’s quiet in Toronto this week. The traffic is thinner than usual.  There are more seats on the subway.   But by golly, there are a ton of tomatoes.  Tomatoes are so bountiful at this time of the year as well as beautifully ripe and flavourful. They are at the market.  They are growing on the backyard or even balcony vines(such as mine)!  We can take advantage of this and make dishes such as soups to enjoy now and freeze to enjoy throughout the winter. This is also a great time to make oven dried tomatoes and freeze the in those tiny mason jars. The flavours are amazing on your salads, sandwiches , pastas and pizzas throughout the winter. So delicious! And the health benefits are off the charts as well.

didyouknow     If you cook tomatoes more lycopene is released by the tomatoes. Lycopene is reported to protect against heart disease, prostate  and cervical cancer.  In addition, if you ingest tomatoes with oil then the lycopene is made more bio-available.  Your body will absorb four times as much of the lycopene.  This is another reason to avoid “fat-free” salad dressings.  Tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, and K as well as many other nutrients. One cup of tomatoes has only 27 calories.  Food chemists at the university of California found that organically grown tomatoes have significantly higher amounts of vitamin C than conventional tomatoes so it is worthwhile to buy them organic or grow your own.  This is not true for all vegetables for example organic bell peppers. Tomato paste and ketchup are two of the richest sources of lycopene in our North American diets.

We can enjoy the health benefits of  cooked tomatoes by utilizing  the following tomato soup recipe.  Please see my earlier tips on freezing soup. I experimented and developed this by trial and error over a 10 year period of time.  Next week I will post a recipe for broccoli soup and I like to combine this with the tomato soup to give a yin/yang appearance with contrasting colour and flavour.  Stay tuned…..

Oven-dried Tomatoes

These are so easy to make and freeze to enjoy throughout the year.  Great on salads, sandwiched, pasta. pizza.  The flavour is concentrated.
INGREDIENTS
6 to 8 tomatoes, slices about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, fresh oregano, fresh basil, whatever you have
1 tablespoon  olive oil
DIRECTIONS
1.  Preheat oven to 250 F or 120 C
2.  Place sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet  on a piece of parchment or silpat sheet.

Sliced fresh tomatoes with salt, pepper, herbs, olive oil

Sliced fresh tomatoes with salt, pepper, herbs, olive oil

3 Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt pepper and fresh herbs.
4.  Bake for one to two hours checking every half hour until pieces have shrunk slightly, edges are shriveled and juices no longer run.  They are not completely dried but are still juicy.

tomatoes that have been backed and out of the oven

Sun (oven) Dried Tomatoes

5.  Cool slightly and put into glass jars covered by olive oil.  Leave about 1/2 inch of head room and freeze if you will not use them up in the next week or two.  Yummy!

Oven-dried tomatoes in glass jar with olive oil and thyme

Oven-dried tomatoes in glass jar with olive oil and thyme