There really is nothing like a locally grown, vine ripened, in season tomato! Their smell, their taste, their colour, all scream nourished by the summer sun! Are fresh tomatoes even worth buying any other time of year??
Once you bite into a local tomato or better yet, one off of your own vine, you know there are no substitutes.
These little gems originated in South America and eventually became a staple in the Mexican diet. It wasn’t until the 1900’s that they gained international recognition. Today there are over 300 (!) varieties grown in Ontario.
They are packed with vitamins and minerals and have many associated health benefits. They are a good source of vitamins A, C, K, E, and B6 as well as thiamin, niacin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, and manganese. They are brimming with antioxidants (hello lycopene) and associated with bone, eye, and heart health. They have been shown to lower total cholesterol, LDL (yes that is the bad one) cholesterol and triglicerides. They are also thought to aid in cancer prevention, fluid balance, blood pressure control and even diabetes management.
It is so easy to fit these into your daily diet. Tomatoes are easily incorporated in breakfast (think Huevos Rancheros), lunch (hello Cobb salad), and dinner (fresh tomato pasta please!). This might convince you..try this roasted red pepper and tomato soup this weekend!
- 2 Ontario red peppers, halved
- 2 Ontario tomatoes, halved
- 3 Ontario garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 small Ontario onion, quartered and separated
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp each, dried thyme, rosemary and basil
- freshly ground pepper & salt to taste
- 2 cups homemade chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Sour cream garnish
- Preheat oven to 450
- Combine oil, thyme, rosemary, and basil in small bowl.
- Put peppers and tomatoes cut side up on foil lined baking sheet; add onion and garlic
- Brush oil mixture on vegetables
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Roast for 40 - 50 minutes or until tender and slightly charred
- Let cool until easy to handle and remove tomato and pepper skins
- Puree vegetables and any juices in blender with some of broth until smooth
- Transfer to saucepan; add vinegar and remaining broth
- Serve hot or at room temperature
- Garnish with a dollop of sour cream
- This soup's flavour gets better if made day before.