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A taste for local tomatoes


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Classic Bruschetta

Although you may be feeling the end of summer blues, you can find happiness in the fact that it is the peak of harvest season! Did you know that in August approximately 40% of the produce sold at our local Atlantic Superstores comes directly from Canadian farmers? To celebrate the local growers and showcase their delicious products, the Amherst Superstore is participating in the Near You campaign. This campaign focuses on all products in our stores which have been either baked, aged, picked or raised Near You. Next time you are shopping, check out the Near You signage throughout the store and in your weekly flyer.

There are many reasons to choose local! Purchasing local foods supports the local economy, helps the environment, and can sometimes be more nutritious and flavourful. Challenge yourself to try a local produce item that you haven’t tried before – such as kohlrabi! Kohlrabi is a vegetable that looks more like an intimidating plant grown far away from home than the delicious, locally grown vegetable that it is. The flesh of the vegetable has a familiar taste most people describe as a mixture between broccoli, turnip, and cabbage.

On the other hand, tomatoes are an item that many people purchase on a regular basis. There are a variety of local tomatoes in Atlantic Superstores – including Beefsteak red, on the vine, Roma, red grape and cherry tomatoes, some of which come from Nova Scotia farms. Tomatoes are often mistaken as a vegetable, but the tomato has seeds and grows from a flowering plant and therefore it is a fruit. Tomatoes vary in colour – in addition to the traditional tomato red, you can also find yellow, pink, purple, black and white varieties.

With approximately 10, 000 different types of tomatoes cultivated around the world, there are plenty to choose from. Tomatoes are packed with vitamins, such as vitamins A & C, and also contain potassium, calcium and lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that is great for the heart and is effective against certain cancers. Did you know that cooked tomatoes contain 3-4 times more lycopene than raw tomatoes?

The versatility of tomatoes allows you to enjoy them in many ways. Try these tips!

  • Storing tomatoes at room temperature is always best to prevent flavour loss. Tomatoes can be used in appetizers, main dishes and even desserts.
  • A fresh tomato salsa made with red onion, fresh cilantro, jalapeno pepper, garlic and lime juice is sure to wake up your taste buds and can be enjoyed as a dip, or a topping for chicken or white fish. Hummus or beans can also be added to a fresh tomato salsa to add protein and make it a balanced snack.
  • A simple tomato sauce is so delicious for many uses and freezes well. Make a tomato sauce from a can of PC Blue Menu diced tomatoes or use peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes and add onion, garlic, parsley, oregano and a bit of sugar to reduce the acidity.
  • Have you ever used tomato in a dessert? Tomatoes taste lovely when pureed with fresh local strawberries, green grapes, agave nectar, strawberry preserves and lime juice drizzled over plain Greek yogurt.

Bruschetta is another popular and delicious way to use fresh tomatoes. This bruschetta recipe is a sure-fire winner that everyone will enjoy!

Classic Bruschetta

Serves: 6

 

Ingredients

 

3 cups (750 mL) diced, cored PC Beefsteak Pink Tomatoes (about two)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup (125 mL) diced red onion

3/4 tsp (4 mL) fine sea salt

6 tbsp (90 mL) PC New World EVOO Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 baguette, about 350 g

1/3 cup (75 mL) roughly chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. In bowl, stir together tomatoes, garlic, onion, salt and 3 tbsp (45 mL) of the oil. Cover and let stand 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat barbecue to medium heat. Cut baguette on diagonal into 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick slices; you will get about 24 pieces. Brush slices on both sides with remaining 3 tbsp (45 mL) oil. Grill baguette slices for 4 to 5 minutes, turning once, or until golden with nice char marks. Arrange on serving platter.
  3. Stir basil into tomato mixture and transfer to serving bowl. Serve alongside grilled baguette slices.

Nutritional Information Per 1 cup Serving: Calories 290 cal, Fat 14 g, Sodium 630 mg, Carbohydrate 36 g, Fibre 3 g, Protein 6 g

Recipe source: pc.ca

Jillian Reid is a Registered Dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in Amherst, Nova Scotia.

Have a nutrition question? Want to book a free appointment or educational store tour for yourself or your community group or business? Contact me by phone at (506) 866-2115 or by email at jillian.reid@loblaw.ca.

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