The tomato is the most popular grown garden vegetable making it the ultimate summer staple. Whether the tomato is hand picked from your garden or found at the farmer's market, this is the time of year to highlight this summer star.
No need to cook, saute or stew tomatoes when the long awaited fresh tomato season is here. Even though tomatoes are available year round, there is nothing better than a fresh plump juicy tomato. There are a multitude of ways to use this summer specialty from tossing in salads, pastas or slicing on a sandwich, however, this time of year it is ideal to use fresh ripe tomatoes to highlight their delicious flavor.
The tomato has a well-thought-of nutritional reputation making it not only good to eat, but also good for you. This summer wonder is packed with vitamin C, potassium, fiber and vitamin A. It also is a source of lycopene, which may aid in cancer prevention.
With the abundance of tomatoes available, it is most important to store them correctly. Fresh tomatoes should never be refrigerated or stored below 55° F. When refrigerated, the cold stops the ripening process and affects the flavor, taste, and texture. If they have been stored in the refrigerator, bring the chilled tomatoes to room temperature to restore some of the flavor and taste. Make sure tomatoes are stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight and stem side up to keep from bruising. It is best to use tomatoes within 2 to 3 days of picking.
Before I share some of my fresh tomato recipes, here are some useful measurements:
1 pound of tomatoes equals 2 1/2 cups chopped or 3 cups sliced tomatoes.
The quick Trim and Terrific recipes at the links below allow you to enjoy summer ripe tomatoes at their best.
For even more from Holly, click here to visit www.HollyClegg.com.
HollyClegg is author of the best selling Trim & Terrific cookbook series including her latest The New Holly Clegg Trim & Terrific Cookbook (2006,Running Press Book Publishers). She appears on Fox & Friends, the NBC Weekend Today Show and her recipes have been featured in Cooking Light, USA Today and People Magazine. For more recipes visit Holly's website www.hollyclegg.com.