Food Focus: Tomatoes

Ahh! Fresh from the garden tomatoes! All sizes, shapes and colors, ready to be enjoyed by the handful. Thanks to my friend, Lisa, for this photo of her garden’s offerings. Just delicious!

Tomatoes, a long-time source of arguments over whether they are a fruit or a vegetable, are indeed a… fruit and a berry! Botanically speaking since the tomato is formed from a single ovary, that makes it a berry! But don’t let the U.S. Supreme Court in on that; they decided in 1893 that tomatoes would officially be classified as a vegetable. Different tariffs placed on fruits vs. vegetables got them involved in the argument!

Regardless of what we call them, tomatoes are an excellent food for good health. They are known for their high content of antioxidants, from sources including Vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, manganese and Vitamin K. Lycopene is probably the most popular of the phytonutrients found in tomatoes, thanks to their famous bright red color. However, it is the collection of many different phytonutrients in tomatoes and how they work together that give them their powerful health benefits. These benefits include antioxidant protection, optimal heart health, cancer prevention, blood sugar regulation, and detoxification.

When cooking with tomatoes, think twice if the recipe calls for you to de-seed them. There are a lot of valuable nutrients in the seeds you may not want to toss away. A quick tip when needing to dice tomatoes is to use the large side of a grater instead. You’ll be on to the next recipe step in no time!tomatoes

So take advantage of the overflowing tomato plants this time of year. Here are two delicious ways to enjoy them!

Quinoa and Olive Stuffed Tomatoes

Caprese Salad

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