Harvest of the Month: Tomatoes

Tomatoes are not only delicious, but they are also packed with health benefits! Vitamin C is plentiful in tomatoes, but they also contain Vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that slows aging of the skin and can be beneficial against cancer and heart disease. Peak season is June through October.

How to Select
Don’t use size as an indicator of quality or flavor. Look for a tomato that is well-shaped, of uniform color, and has a bit of give when firmly held. Fully-ripe tomatoes are soft and should be used right away.

How to Store
Fresh, ripe tomatoes should not be stored in the refrigerator, as it turns them tasteless. Store tomatoes at room temperature for two to three days out of direct sunlight until ready to eat.

How to Prepare
Tomatoes can be eaten raw, sautéed, grilled, stewed, and added to many dishes. Use a serrated or very sharp knife to slice or chop tomatoes, or prick the skin to get a slice going. Cut tomatoes lengthwise from stem to blossom end to retain more juice in each slice. To peel tomatoes, blanch by dropping them into boiling water for about 30 seconds, or longer for firm tomatoes. Then plunge them into a bowl of ice water until cool enough to handle. Cut an X on the stem end and use a paring knife to pull skin away. Skin will pull away easily if the tomatoes have been blanched long enough.

To seed tomatoes, cut the tomato in half horizontally. Holding a half in the palm of your hand, squeeze out the jelly-like juice and seeds over a strainer and scoop out remaining seeds with your fingertip.

Try Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

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