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  • Writer's pictureChef Kelly Unger

Tomatoes, the jewel of summer!

We’ve waited all year for tomato season and we have arrived! We’ll be dazzled at the farmers market from now until late September with all sorts of varieties, sizes and colors. I can’t wait! I'm also one of those kind of people that LOVES the smell of the tomato plant. So I rub the leaves and stems and inhale deeply.


First let’s cover the important reasons you should be eating tomatoes beyond their sun ripened, sweet, delicious flavor. Tomatoes are loaded with fiber, Vitamin C, Potassium, Folate and Vitamin K1 - which is important for blood clotting and bone health. Tomatoes are also a major source of lycopene. Lycopene is found throughout the tomato but it’s highest concentration is in the skin - another example of why I never peel a vegetable and why you should eat the tomato skin. Why is lycopene so important to our health? It protects us from heart attack, stroke and cancer. And while you can get lycopene from canned tomatoes or even ketchup, what you also get is not as fresh and bioavailable lycopene as well as added sugars etc in ketchup. So, the healthiest way to get everything the tomato has to offer without any added junk is fresh from the farmers market (or your patio or backyard), grown in the sunshine, fresh, raw tomato. When it’s apple season we remember the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. The same can be applied to the tomato and a peach. And for extra hydration since it’s also cucumber season, eat a cucumber with your tomato daily.


My daily go to accompaniment with dinner is a tomato diced with a quartered and sliced cucumber, a diced peach, and some chopped basil, tossed together, no salt, nothing added. It needs nothing. It’s perfection as is. And it forces you to really focus on the flavors of these ingredients and the beautiful symphony they create together. It’s refreshing and it’s your daily multivitamin on a plate.

For more detailed health information, visit Healthline: benefits of tomatoes


Now, to go beyond this daily ritual and to really enjoy the tomato season we long for all year, here are 31 Juicy Summer Tomato Recipes from Food & Wine. This collection is really spectacular. There are so many new fantastic recipes that are likely something you’ve never seen before. You must try at least one. For example, there’s Indian Kachumber Gazpacho, Green Tomatoes with Pistachio Relish, Tomato Lemonade, Roasted Tomato Curry Pie, and Gazpacho Salad.


There’s nothing more American about a tomato than a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich or a good old Southern Tomato Pie. I have to imagine thrifty southerners had to get creative with the abundance of their tomato crop and came up with this savory pie beauty. Southern Tomato Pie is delicious for sure but be forewarned, it is not going to be found on the low calorie menu. This pie uses delicious bacon, lots of mayonnaise and cheese. It’s a summer dinner pie, a great side dish to grilled meat or a great lunch item with a salad. It does take a bit of time to prepare so take note. You won’t be whipping this up at the last minute. And as you can imagine, there are many different versions of this pie. I’m sharing two here:

I hope you'll try some of these delicious recipes and incorporate a tomato into your daily routine while we have them! Enjoy!



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