August’s awesome crop

There are no other vegetables more delicious in the summer than the wide variety of Ontario-grown tomatoes. They are a poster food at this time of year. Eating the field or beefsteak, freshly sliced with a little kosher salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, can be a meal in itself. I toss the small varieties into my salads, salsas and toppings for fish, chicken or beef. Tomatoes are also a powerhouse of nutrients. They contain vitamin C, which protects us from free radicals; vitamin A, which improves our immune system and eyesight; niacin, which lowers cholesterol and triglycerides; potassium, which can help lower blood pressure; and lycopene, which prevents damage to the cells causing cancer. They come in different colours to make your table bright and they are low in fat and calories. Technically speaking, the they’re fruits, but in the culinary universe, vegetables. Regardless, you can never eat too many so enjoy!

Pesto-stuffed Heirloom Tomatoes

Plum Tomato Soup Shooters

Calamari & Roma Tomato Salad

Rose’s Tip: How to select the best and keep them fresh

The most commonly used tomatoes are the beefsteak, field, plum and the tiny cherry-sized varieties. The yellow varieties are less acidic and have less flavour than the red, but make a dish attractive. When selecting tomatoes, smell them first. There should be a rich tomato aroma. Those that are still on the vine will always taste the best though they do tend to cost a little more. Make sure that the tomatoes you choose are round, full and heavy for their size. The skin should be tight, not shriveled. Store tomatoes in a cool, dark place and use within a few days. If they’re not ripe, do not refrigerate them. They will ripen in a room-temperature environment.

Post City Magazines’ culinary columnist, Rose Reisman, is author of 17 cookbooks, a TV and radio personality and a health and wellness expert. Visit Rose at www.rosereisman.com.

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