April is the Fresh Florida Tomato Month
April is Fresh Florida Tomato Month, and tomatoes are said to originally have come from Peru and have been in the past widely considered as an aphrodisiac! Technically a fruit, it is versatile, fleshy and juicy and can be used in many dishes from sweet to savoury, hot to cold.
Benefits of Fresh Tomatoes
Although tomatoes can be cooked, grilled, roasted etc, fresh tomatoes hold incredible nutritional value.
Cardiovascular Health – Antioxidants which make up a lot of the tomatoes’ goodness, is what supports your system, leading to healthy hearts and cardiovascular systems. As well as this, they also help regulate fat in the blood stream, ensuring there is no fatty-deposit build up.
Good Bones – Packed full of great antioxidants such as lycopene, stronger bones can be helped by nutrient-rich tomatoes.
Cancer Prevention – Those magical antioxidants once again work to prevent many illnesses, including cancer – this is mainly due to their anti inflammatory ingredients.
Planting, growing and harvesting your tomatoes can depend on where you live in the world, but tomato gardening is most popular at this time of year for people in the northern hemisphere. Sowing seeds should take place in fairly warm temperatures (ideally above 10 degrees C) and should be ready to pick about 60 – 80 days after planting.
April 6th is Fresh Tomato Day and it is a great day to celebrate this fantastically nutritious fruit which is rich in Vitamin C plus many other vitamins and minerals. A great snack and recipe ingredient, tomatoes are one of the most widely used fruits in contemporary and old time cooking.
The classic tomato sauce
From the very simple tomato pasta sauce to frittatas to exotic tomato salsas, the tomato can be used in practically anything! For a delicious appetiser, why not try a Tomato, Basil and Feta Tart? It’s light and delicious and a great warm-up for your main course. All you need is:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1kg brown onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
- 250g sliced gourmet tomatoes
- 1/2 cup small basil leaves
- 2/3 cup feta
Preheat oven to 200C. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Fry onions for 15 minutes then add sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes then allow to cool.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Cut each sheet in half and layer 2 pastry halves together, pushing gently to keep them in place. Repeat with the rest of the pastry. Place pastry rectangles on prepared trays. Lightly score a 2cm border in pastry rectangles.
Divide caramelised onions between pastry rectangles and spread to the border. Top with tomatoes, feta and basil. Bake for half an hour or until golden.
For a great tasting main course try a Pancetta, Chicken and Semi Dried Tomato Roll, a Sweet Baked Tomato as a dessert and maybe even have a tomato based Bloody Mary to top it all off!
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