The best of these juicy gems are heirloom tomatoes. They are unparalleled in texture and flavor. A good heirloom tomato is firm, never mealy inside, and the flavor tends to be sweeter and less acidic than super market standards.
With varieties ranging the spectrum in color, texture and flavor, you can have fun deciding between a Golden Queen, Orange Oxheart, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Black Zebra and many more.
Tasty – and Nutritious – Tomatoes
“I was first introduced to heirloom tomatoes when a friend offered me a plate of tie-dyed colored slices of tomato,” chef Jen Wanous says. “They didn’t look like any tomato I had ever seen before. Bright, bold yellow, red, orange swirled together in a kaleidoscope of farm-fresh color. They were dressed simply with good olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and a few tears of fresh basil. I had never enjoyed eating raw sliced tomato before, but now a simply dressed tomato on a sliced piece of baguette is my go-to early fall snack.”
Tomatoes are packed with antioxidant nutrients like lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamin C. Studies have shown that eating tomatoes may help fight prostate cancer, prevent heart disease and other ailments.
Gazpacho on the Go
Put this super food to use! “When time is of the essence, I like to keep my ingredient list short and preparation simple,” chef Jen shares. “Gazpacho is the perfect way to integrate lots of fresh vegetables, and it’s so easy to make. You just chop up all the fresh vegetables, pop them into the blender and viola, dinner is served! It’s super low calorie, no fat, and is full of flavor. It’s a salsa-like soup that is light, refreshing, and when using tomato as your main ingredient, there are also many health benefits.”
Accompany the gazpacho with a warm tortilla, quesadilla, or grilled chicken breast. You can also have it all on it’s own for a refreshing lunch.
Now it’s your opportunity to savor the last harvests of summer. Go grab your tote bag and get to your local farmers market to enjoy this seasonal treat before they are gone.
* A note on storage: Never refrigerate your tomatoes. Refrigeration changes the texture of the tomato making them mealy. Keep them out on a counter in a single layer with a dishtowel beneath them. Rotate them once a day to prevent any bruising. Plan to eat them within a few days.
1 pound tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1 red onion
3 green onion stalks
½ – 1 jalapeño, seeded
¼ cup cilantro
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Juice of one lime
1-3 cloves garlic
Dash of cayenne if desired
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Chop all vegetables, blend on high for 1-2 minutes. Depending on how spicy you like it, you can increase or decrease the garlic and jalapeño. If you want to add some texture to your soup so that it’s not completely smooth, you can reserve some pieces of chopped tomato and cucumber to add in at the very end.
2. Eat immediately or chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. Garnish with thin slices of green onion and a couple leaves of cilantro.