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…..

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Dirty Dozen ~ Don’t Panic Buy Organic!

When  should you buy organic!
You might wonder if the nutrients in organic food are higher than those in non-organic food. We assume they are higher.  Especially since they cost more to buy.  But, it is not always the case. Crop-Duster Spraying FieldSweet bell peppers have about the same amount of vitamin C in both camps; organic and conventional produce.  Tomatoes rank slightly higher on the organic side. Potato farmers will not eat conventional potatoes. They grow a small crop of organic potatoes for themselves.   Some potatoes farmers will  go on record to say that there is no difference.  Of course he would say that. Farming is big business.  I noticed the younger farmers support organic while the older farmers didn’t.  Why is that? What we are really talking about are pesticides.  Do we spray our produce with poisonous chemicals or not.  It all began 4,500 years ago in ancient Mesapotania,  where the first known (organic) pesticide was elemental sulfur dusting.  In 1959,  the dominant arsenic spray used to preserve the orange groves in Florida was on the decline as organic sprays were emerging again.  We were still left with residual arsenic in the soil and other synthetic pesticides are still being used.

DIRTY DOZEN
All fruits and vegetables are good but some are better than others.
dirty-dozen-clean-fifteen
Download this FREE Brochure. Paste it on your fridge and give to your friends. Keep a copy in your wallet for your grocery shopping trips.  Your friends and your body will thank you for it.—> CLICK HERE-(to download/print the PDF). It’s fantastic!

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) have generously provided us with this excellent shopping guide. dirty-dozenThey studied 46 conventionally grown fruits and vegetables over a ten year period and have listed the ones with the most pesticide contaminants and those with the least amount of pesticides.Their so-called “Dirty Dozen” have the most contaminants and it would be best to buy organic produce in this category. The clean fifteen has the least contaminants in both organic and conventional produce. YAHOO!

Results: You can drop your pesticide exposure by 90% when you follow the EWG guidelines.   I always bring my “Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen” chart to the grocery store with me.  When I didn’t see blueberries on their short list, I went to the EWG site. mr-potato Blueberries don’t have to be organic. I can buy conventional blueberries.  Visit www.EWG.org to rate your plate.
KING SPUD
White potatoes have such a high amount of  pesticides that the potato farmer will not eat them but have a separate potato patch for their family consumption.  The interesting Michael Pollan film “Botany of Desire” (available on YouTube) explains this in length.

THE JOY OF A FRESH TOMATO
Let us  examine the tomato. tomatoesFood chemists at the University of California have found that organically grown tomatoes have significantly higher amounts of vitamin C than their non organic counterparts.  (see organic vs conventions chart below).  My favorite tomato is the Kumato (green/purple) tomato from Spain. I really like the taste. It reminds me of tomatoes when I was a kid. Kumatoes are not genetically modified but a cross breeding of tomatoes and are grown hydroponically.  Note: GMO ( genetically modified organism) produce; using genetic engineering techniques  were designed build a better tomato and thwart pests. They do not have to be labeled in your grocery store either and may have unknown allergens.

BELL PEPPERS ARE EQUAL in VITAMIN C
Sweet bell pepper are so tasty. You can munch on them like an apple. The amount of vitamin C is about the same for both organic and non-organic peppers. But the non-organic sweet bell peppers are sprayed many times during its growth cycle. We are looking at 49 possible carcinogens, nine suspected hormone disruptors and nine neurotoxins.  They are on the “DIRTY DOZEN” list.peppers_mini

Pediatricians Don’t All Agree

A new report claims that organic food does not have “any meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits.” Conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the report recommends that pediatricians take the findings of the report into account when giving nutritional advice to parents. from www.naturallySavvy.com

A study showed that on average organic produce had 27% more vitamin C, 21% more iron, 27% more magnesium and more than 13% more phosphorous than conventional produce. These can be referenced in Dr. John La Puma’s book “Chef MD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine“.

Organic chart provided by ecochildsplay.com organic_chart_conventional
Stay tuned for more “organic” recipes from Simply Splendid Food.