Tomatoes are abundant this time of year and you have many options to buy local and fresh. Tomatoes are one of the most popular home garden vegetable to grow and should now be providing the home gardener with fresh ripe bounty from now until summers end. Our local farmer’s markets are also selling tomatoes home grown and in many colors like deep red, bright yellow and green. Our climate is great for growing tomatoes. In fact, Florida is the nation’s largest producer of fresh tomatoes.
Nutritionally, tomatoes are packed with vitamin C and A. Low in calories and high in flavor, this succulent vegetable is a favorite all year long. Tomatoes are great served sliced and also in cooked dishes. Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Ripe tomatoes should be used within 3 to 4 days. For best flavor, do not refrigerate. Ripe tomatoes will give slightly to gentle pressure
If you want to preserve the summer’s tomato bounty, try your hand at canning. Remember to use USDA recommended practices for safety and long term quality. For a complete listing of how to safely can tomato products you will find the USDA guide here: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/usda/GUIDE03_HomeCan_rev0715.pdf
Farm Fresh Salsa
Fresh salsa is a low-fat, low sodium, treat that is packed with flavor and essential nutrients. Adjust the salt and oil to your taste and diet.
6 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ seeded and minced jalapenos
1 red bell pepper, finely dices
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 lime, juiced
Chili Powder, salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh scallions, cilantro or parsley, to taste
In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Place in refrigerator for up to 12 hours for flavor infusion. Serve with your own baked chips.
Baked Tortilla chips
1 package medium or large tortillas
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375˚ F
On a cutting board cut tortillas into 8 – 12 pieces using a pizza cutter.
Place aluminum foil on 2 or 3 baking sheets.
Place tortillas pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
Lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray on both sides.
Sprinkle tortilla pieces with salt to taste – or with salt-free alternative for dietary needs.
Place in oven and cook 10-15 minutes until crisp.