Cooking tomatoes local

Cooking Tomatoes April 2017

Cooking tomatoes local

Late summer, the end of daylight saving, but PEAK for TOMATOES.

Tomatoes love nothing better than bask in full sun all summer, and longer if they can get away with it.  Provided they’ve had lots of fertiliser (chicken and duck manure, fish emulsion, seaweed) to give them flavour, sun will bring out the ripeness.

Alas, many commercial tomatoes are not ripened on the vine.  Instead, they are picked when green – and before they go onto the supermarket shelf, they are ripened in the coolroom using ethylene.  No wonder they taste like nothing, and last for about 3 days.  By contrast, tomatoes that have been ripened on the vine have a huge amount of flavour, and should last (out of the fridge) for 2 weeks.

Some tomatoes – usually near the peak of the season – are left on the vine until they are almost over-ripe, and these so called cooking tomatoes contain less liquid but loads more flavour.  They’re available from March to June, and are perrrfect for home-made pasta sauce, tomato soup, bruschetta and casseroles.

Unfortunately we seem to be wedded to canned tomatoes – and really, we just don’t get it:

  • More often than not, cans contain imported tomatoes
  • Imagine the energy – not to mention greenhouse gasses – used to manufacture the steel cans, process the tomatoes, and then transport them around the world!
  • Many – if not most – steel cans are lined with a plastic that contains BPA (Bisphenol A): this is a hormone disruptor that can seep into the food, and can have adverse health effects. Many plastic bottles and containers also use BPA. Although the research is far from conclusive, there seem to growing evidence of people with high levels of BPA running a greater risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and lower fertility. As with many things in life: prevention is easier than the cure.
  • Canned tomatoes are almost always more expensive than fresh tomatoes: a typical 440g can of Ardmona tomatoes costs $1.40.  That works out at $3.18/kg.  By contrast, our fresh cooking tomatoes cost $2.50/kg, or even $2 a kg if you buy 2kg.  That’s a saving of 37%.
  • But above all, fresh cooking tomatoes taste so much better than their canned cousins.
  • Read more on imported canned tomatoes 

So there you have it: better tasting, cheaper and healthier.  You can find cooking tomatoes under Veature Veg. See recipes Authentic Gnocchi tomato sauce;Basic Gnocchi;Tomato Hummus Dip

Indian Spaghetti Bolognaise

Homemade Spanish tomato sauce


Indian Spaghetti Bolognaise

Indian spaghetti bolognaise
Recipe Type: Sauce
Author: Harvest Hub
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
  • 3 garlic clove, chopped
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 7 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 zucchinis, grated
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 10g mixed dried Italian herbs
  • Olive oil
  • [b]OPTIONAL: [/b]1 kg premium mince, pre-cooked
  1. Heat oil in frypan over a medium heat then add the onions and cook until golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger with one tbsp water and cook. Then add spices and cook then stir in the tomatoes. Cook 3 minutes.
  2. Add mince and/or the zucchini, carrots, herbs. Cover and cook 10 minutes.

Homemade Spanish tomato sauce

Homemade Spanish tomato sauce
Recipe Type: Sauce
Author: Harvest Hub
  • 500gm tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Lemon, juice
  • 1litre vegetable stock
  • A bunch of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley
  • 3 tbs concentrate tomato puree
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Fry off your onion in the olive oil on a medium heat until soft. Reduce the heat and add the garlic. Cook for a further five minutes stirring. Add the chopped tomatoes to the mix. Add them to the mixture. Add the Rest of the ingredients and cook on a medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take out the bay leaves and discard. Whizz the tomato sauce in a food processor or blender until it is fairly smooth.



Tomato an antioxidant

Tomato Medley cherry 300gTomato an antioxidant

The humble tomato is a member of the nightshade family and is composed of more than 93 percent water. Lycopene is the pigment responsible for the red color of tomatoes and has demonstrated ‘antioxidant’ activity associated with a lowered risk of cancer. Did we use a buzz word?

Antioxidant – what does it mean?

What does antioxidant really mean? In brief: The process is triggered by factors such as bad food choices; bad habits, such as smoking and excessive alcohol; pollution; stress; and lack of exercise.

What happens?

A molecule in the body loses its electron and it becomes a ‘free radical’ which grow uncontrollably and affects the DNA of cells ‘oxidative stress’ and contributes to the onset of cardiovascular disease and premature aging. The body can cope with some free radicals and needs them to function effectively. However, an overload of free radicals has been linked to certain diseases, including heart disease, liver disease and some cancers. Antioxidants scavenge the free radicals from the body cells, and prevent or reduce the damage caused by oxidation.

How to get antioxidants?

Eat a variety of richly coloured fruits and vegetables — the most colourful ones tend to pack the greatest antioxidant punch. Carotenoids: phytochemicals are the fat-soluble pigments abundant in yellow, orange, red and green fruits and vegetables.

Prostate Cancer

Blokes – eat tomatoes which have the antioxidant lycopene, as research has shown it helps diminish development of prostate cancer. Lutein, found in spinach and corn, has been linked to a lower incidence of eye lens degeneration and associated blindness in the elderly.

Flavonoids, such as the tea catechins found in green tea, are believed to contribute to the low rates of heart disease in Japan. Red grapes and their products contain an additional antioxidant, anthocyanin, that gives them their intense red-purple color. The onion family–garlic, onions, shallots and leeks contain flavonoids, vitamin C, selenium and sulfur-containing substances. Vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts have antioxidant capabilities because of their high vitamin C and flavonoid content.

Cucumbers are members of the pumpkin, zucchini, watermelon and squash family, water based and a powerful antioxidant.

Why eat a variety?

So, taking advantage of a healthy lifestyle means putting some variety into your eating and literally the ‘spices’ in your life have been found to have the highest antioxidant content of all foods – clove, allspice, cumin, cinnamon and ginger (January 2010 edition of the Nutrition Journal) and the aromatic herbs sage, marjoram, rosemary, peppermint, oregano and thyme.