Tomatoes are well known in the culinary world for their wide range of uses; they are both sweet and acidic, they can be eaten cooked or uncooked, whole or broken down in sauces. The ways to use tomatoes are limited only to the imagination of the individual preparing the dish.
Tomatoes are great for your health as well. They contain large amounts of lycopene, a powerful naturally occurring anti-oxidant that helps our bodies fight off certain types of cancer formations, as well as other types of health complications and diseases. Our bodies do not naturally produce lycopene, so it is important to have some in your diet. Other fruits and vegetables contain lycopene, but not in the concentration that is found in the tomato.
Heirloom tomatoes (also called heritage tomatoes) are quickly becoming one of the more popular varieties out there. Heirloom tomatoes are in effect the “purebred” of the tomato world, meaning they are not hybrids of other tomato plants. You will find them in all different colors and sizes, some with stripes of different colors running throughout. This odd coloration is because heirloom tomatoes lack a genetic mutation that gives them that uniform red color. This mutation that makes tomatoes all red also happens to mute the natural sweet flavors of the fruit, therefore heirlooms are sweeter and more flavorful than their uniformed cousins.
Recently, Pepper’s Chefs Danny Morgan and John Lawrence held a cooking demonstration for the Mass Horticultural Society as part of their “Garden to Table” program series. This event featured fresh, local heirloom tomatoes and it demonstrated the wide variety of uses for this wonder fruit. Creative and unique dishes such as tomato mousse with a basil reduction and balsamic vinaigrette were featured. This just goes to show you that in the right hands and with a little bit of imagination, tomatoes can be made into virtually anything. Keep an eye on our blog for more info on upcoming demonstrations.
Photo credit: Mrsdkrebs