Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Spice It UP!!! Tomatoes

I figured that since we are at the height of tomato season, I would feature them on the Spice It UP!!! series especially since I LOVE TOMATOES!!!!  I eat them at least three times a week, if not more.  I love them in salads, on sandwiches, plain with salt and pepper, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce....  I just love tomatoes!!!!

{Fresh, garden tomatoes!}

First to tackle the age-old question: is it a fruit or tomato?  Well, it is a fruit, scientifically speaking, because it grows from the ovaries of a plant and contains seeds (think berries or oranges).  Plus, when people say 'fruit' it's usually associated with sweeter foods rather than savory, which is what a tomato is typically used for.  (source)  Either way--it's good for you!

According to the USDA factsheet on tomatoes, tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A and C, and a 1/2 cup serving of tomatoes is considered a 1/2 cup serving of fruits/vegetables.  World's Healthiest Foods states that tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that has shown to impact bone health.  Tomatoes have also been shown to improve heart health by lowering cholesterol and truglycerides.  (source)

Although tomatoes are closely associated with Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, tomatoes originated from western South America, mainly Columbia, Peru, Chile, and Ecaudor, and Mexico.  Aztecs are given credit for spreading it throughout Latin America.  Tomatoes did not become popular in Europe until the 1500s because they were seen as unfit to eat because they were believed to be poisonous.  (source)

When choosing tomatoes, choose ones with a deep color and with no bruising or other noticable spots.  Store them at room temperature because tomatoes do not like the cold; however, if you have ripe tomatoes, those can be stored in the fridge to prevent them from rotting.  Tomatoes also should be stored in a single layer to prevent them from getting mushy (they don't like to touch each other).  Fresh tomatoes can be sliced, diced or left whole and frozen for up to 8 months (my grandma said her mom used to do that, and they would have tomatoes on Christmas day--I personally have tried this was roasted tomatoes, but not fresh tomatoes).  (source and source)

Now on to the most important part--the recipes!  The following are some of my favorite recipes for tomatoes, you know, besides eating them like apples or sliced with salt and pepper!

Do you love tomatoes?  What is your favorite way to eat them?

I do have an announcement!  I am part of the Southern Blog Society!!! 

{Courtesy of Southern Blog Society}

It is a community of Southern lifestyle bloggers.  There are several other bloggers (who I haven't completely checked out yet, but they all look great!) and a resource for me.  Who knows?....  Maybe I'll go 'big' one day and have my own cookbook (when I dream, I dream big!).  Don't worry!  The content will not change unless I want it to change!  (Did you really think you would get rid of my quirkyness that quickly?)

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