Catching up with Tomatoes

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes.

John Denver’s Home Grown Tomatoes

Tomato harvest is upon us. If you are lucky enough to grow your own, then you may be humming the late John Denver’s tune, Home Grown Tomatoes. (Listen here)

There truly is nothing more luscious and healthy than a tomato especially when just picked from the vine.

But did you know what we seem to think of as a vegetable is actually a fruit? (Save that one for your next Jeopardy appearance). Because it is a ripened flower ovary and has seeds, the tomato is a fruit. The tomato is extremely versatile as it shines in sauces, as a delicious ingredient for main dishes, as well as soups, salads, appetizers and side dishes.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit;
wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Miles Kington, British journalist and musician

Not being sweet, tomatoes are not usually found in fruit salads or desserts. Okay, there are green tomato pie, sorbets and other sweet desserts, but tomatoes are most popular when they are used as a vegetable.

Tomato Nutrition

Tomatoes pack a nutritional wallop as they are a good source of Vitamin A and C. A cup offers more than 23 and 90 percent, respectively, of daily dietary requirements for these vitamins. Low in cholesterol and saturated fats, tomatoes are good sources of dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper as well as other vitamins like E, K, and B6. A one cup serving has a little over 40 calories.

The bright red color of  tomatoes is from the pigment called lycopene, an antioxidant, which said to protect against a variety of cancers and heart disease.

Enjoy the Harvest

What to do with your overabundance of ripe tomatoes? If you live out in the country, you may be putting them up on a stand at the end of your driveway with a Please Take Some! sign.

Of course, the best way to enjoy a vine ripened tomato is to eat as soon as possible! Add to a salad, slice and enjoy in a sandwich or on top of burger. Chop up and make it the base of gazpacho or homemade tomato sauce.

If you can’t eat them fast enough, then freeze them. It is very easy. Just wash, hull and put in a single layer in a freezer bag. Label, freeze and use up to 8 to 12 months after freezing.

Here is a step by step video on how to freeze tomatoes prepared by The University of Maine: Click to See Video

Beyond Tomato Sauce

Looking for more ideas beyond the basic tomato sauce?

Here are some delicious recipes with tomatoes from Healthy Aging® Magazine. To see more recipes like these, subscribe!

Roasted Tomato and Spinach Tart

Roasted Tomato and Spinach Tart

Makes 4 servings

For the crust:
• 2 ¼ cups ground almonds
• 2 sprigs rosemary
• 4 tablespoons sunflower oil/li>
• ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
• A pinch of Himalayan pink salt
• 1 tablespoon water
• Generous cup raw pumpkin seeds
• 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

For the topping:
• 1 lb. 2 oz. tomatoes
• 2 cloves garlic
• 4 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
• 1 tablespoon picked thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs
• ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
• ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
• 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• 14 oz. spinach leaves
• 2/3 cup hard goat’s cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a 7½-inch tart or cake pan with parchment paper. You’ll also need a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pulse the ground almonds, rosemary, sunflower oil, caraway seeds, salt, water, and half the pumpkin seeds until smooth and set aside.
Then pulse the rest of the pumpkin seeds and the sunflower seeds, but only for a few seconds to ensure you are keeping some texture for the crust. Mix the seeds into the ground almond mixture. Combine thoroughly until the mixture starts to come together. Press it into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes until golden.

Meanwhile, quarter the tomatoes and finely chop the garlic. In a large bowl, make a marinade from 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, the thyme, salt, pepper, and vinegar and add in the garlic. Toss the tomatoes in the marinade then tip out onto a baking sheet and roast for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, wilt the spinach by pouring boiling hot water over it in a colander and then cool it down by running cold water over it over the sink. Once cooled, squeeze out all the excess water and finely chop or blitz the spinach with a teaspoon of olive oil. Remove the crust from the oven and scatter the spinach over the base of the tart, top with the roasted tomatoes, and then sprinkle over the grated goat’s cheese.

Garnish with a few sprigs of thyme and then bake for another 15 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Serve straightaway and enjoy.

Reprinted with permission from Honestly Healthy For Life © 2014 by Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Lisa Linder. Winter 2018 Healthy Aging® Magazine)

Eggplant Cannelliono w. Spicy Tomato-Basil Sauce Eggplant Cannelloni with Spicy Tomato-Basil Sauce and Caramelized Onions and Kale

Makes 4 to 6 servings (12 rolls)

 For the Spicy Tomato-Basil Sauce
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 red onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Eggplant Rolls
• 2 large eggplants (about 18 ounces each), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
• Sea salt
• 1 cup diced zucchini or yellow squash
• 1 cup diced red bell pepper
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 cups cooked quinoa
• 1/4 cup pine nuts
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
• 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

For the Caramelized Onions and Kale

• 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 cup thinly sliced onions
• ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 4 cups firmly packed torn kale leaves (about 4 ounces)
• 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic
• 1 teaspoon unfiltered apple cider vinegar
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make the Spicy Tomato-Basil Sauce:

Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and half of the basil and simmer until reduced to about 3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Let cool, and then stir in the remaining basil. (The sauce can be made up to 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Make the Eggplant Rolls:

Preheat the broiler. Arrange the eggplant slices on two large baking sheets in a single layer. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the eggplant slices with ¼ cup of the oil. Sprinkle with salt. Broil without turning until the eggplant is soft and slightly browned, watching carefully to prevent burning, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Mix in the quinoa, pine nuts, and oregano. Stir in the broth, remove from the heat, and let cool. Using your hands, knead the quinoa stuffing mixture until all the ingredients are well moistened. Season to taste with more salt and black pepper.

On a work surface, place 1 eggplant slice, browned side facing down, with the wide, rounded end closest to you. Place 2 tablespoons of the stuffing on the rounded end and roll the eggplant up and away from you. Place the roll seam-side down on a large heavy baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant and stuffing. (The rolls can be made up to 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)
Make the Caramelized Onions and Kale: Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and crushed red pepper and cook until the onions are golden brown, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add the kale, broth, and garlic and cook until the kale is tender and the mixture is caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. (The kale and onions can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Set aside at room temperature.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the eggplant rolls, if refrigerated, and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the sauce onto each serving plate and top each pool of sauce with 2 or 3 eggplant rolls. Spoon the caramelized onions and kale over the rolls and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Ranch Malibu.
(Healthy Aging Magazine, Winter 2016)
Garlicky Shrimp.Photography by Signe Birck

Photography by Signe Birck

Garlicky Shrimp with Tomatoes and White Wine

Makes 4 servings

• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• 3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced crosswise
• 2 shallots, thinly sliced crosswise
• 1  pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
• 1 pound (about 16) large wild shrimp, cleaned and shells removed (with tails left intact)
• ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 2-3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more sprigs for garnish
• 1 cup dry white wine
• Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and sauté, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 3 –4 minutes. Add the shrimp, red pepper flakes, and thyme and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are completely pink, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, 2 –3 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Arrange the shrimp on a warm platter or in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with thyme sprigs.

Reprinted with permission from The Yellow Table: A Celebration of Everyday Gatherings, 110 Simple & Seasonal Recipes published in 2015 by Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. © Anna Watson Carl. (Healthy Aging Magazine, Fall 2015)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Subscribe to Healthy Aging® Magazine

The Premier Lifestyle Magazine for All Ages

Receive four digital issues delivered to your inbox. Just $24.95