Sunday, 15 March 2015

Tomatoes


A variety of tomatoes
Or tommy-atoes as Mr E would say!

With one half of the household being vegetarian, tomatoes feature quite heavily in our cooking.  That might be lasagne, home-made pizza, tagliatelle, casseroles, and the obligatory salad.  It's incredibly rare that I would make a cream based sauce, so it's just as well that Mr E likes tomatoes!


Tomatoes, as you know, are very versatile possibly because they are available in so many types: classic, cherry, plum and beef (and can I list tinned here?!) each lending themselves to different types of cooking and recipes.  They needn't just be bought as a red fruit, it's becoming increasingly easier to purchase tomato varieties which are yellow and orange (and still be ripe).  I stumbled across a really interesting site about British tomatoes which you may like to have a read of.

A variety of tomatoes
And did you know, there is even a celebratory week for the humble British tomato?  This year it'll be 19th - 25th May.

Nutritionally, tomatoes are fabulous, being a great source of lycopene.  Lycopene is an anti-oxidant and is great for Mr E's prostate health!  A recent study has suggested it's also great for bone health, you can read more about it here and here for full nutritional details.  It's interesting how those eating a Mediterranean diet, which obviously includes tomatoes in abundance along with olive oil and oily fish, have much better cardio-vascular health.

If you love tomatoes as much as we do, you could perhaps have a go at growing your own.  If nothing else, the smell of fresh tomatoes picked straight off the vine is just amazing.  There are so many benefits to be had from growing your own tomatoes (and other produce for that matter) - financial, nutrition, enjoyment for those growing them and fun for the children.  It's certainly no bad thing for children to learn how their food grows (even my Mr E, a very intelligent gentleman, didn't realise that the fruit originate as a small yellow flower which is then pollinated).

Yummy tomatoes
If you do have a bit of space in the garden (or even balcony) in a sunny spot, then get sowing those tomato seeds now!!  They'll soon germinate and be ready for planting out.  They're relatively easy to do, even I have successfully managed it in the past and our 94 year old neighbour still grows tomatoes in her front yard (without a green house).  Read here about how to grow them if your a tomato growing virgin.

So, where to buy your tomato seeds?  I noticed Aldi is now selling plant seeds for just 39p!! These are probably a standard variety with no frills, but if you fancy choosing from a variety of seeds  have a look at Thompson and Morgan (this is a great site which talks about how to grow them and helps narrow down the wide choice of tomato varieties to which may be suited to your own growing needs).  Though, of course they are a bit more expensive.  Tomato seeds are also easily available from garden centres, supermarkets and wilkinsons.

Go on, have a go!  The children will love it!

Look out for a tomato recipe coming soon!













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