Tomatoes are one of my most favorite foods! I love tomatoes and can eat them in any shape, form or dish. The problem is that during the cooler months all of the tomatoes come from greenhouses and just aren’t very good, kinda like eating steel bracelets. But come summer…I get the ones like you see above. Home grown, fragrant, juicy and WONDERFUL!
So, is there any way to find a good tomato during the winter? Some are definitely better than others. How do you choose the perfect tomato during the summer? You know your stuff and you will always come out a winner.
Here is how:
When selecting tomatoes choose the ones that have shiny skins that are light red in color. They should be firm and have smell similar to the tomato plant. Avoid any with blemishes and dull, dark red skins, which indicates that the tomato is overripe. If the tomato lacks aroma, it generally lacks flavor. It is also best to smell at the top where the stem was attached. Sometimes, if your only choice is the mealy, tasteless supermarket fresh tomato, you may well be better off using canned tomatoes in cooked recipes.
If tomatoes are under-ripe you can place them in a brown paper bag and store them overnight in a dark area, or try placing them in a covered bowl with an apple. The apple gives off ethylene gas, which helps ripen faster.
Firm up overripe tomatoes by placing them in a bowl of cold salt water and leaving them sit overnight.
Do not use an aluminum pot, pan or utensil when cooking tomatoes. The acid in the tomato reacts unfavorably with the aluminum. Using aluminum makes the cooked tomatoes more bitter and fades the color. The dish will also absorb some of the aluminum and the acid in the tomatoes can pit and discolor the aluminum cookware.
The high acid content of the tomato will naturally slow down the cooking process of some other foods. For example, beans cooked with tomatoes added may take up to twenty percent more cooking time than without.
Tomatoes have been proven to be very healthy for us due to Lycopene, an anti oxidant which gives tomatoes their lovely rich red color, helps remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules and have been implicated in cancer and other serious diseases. But they come in handy for reasons other than eating. Tomatoes make an excellent skin treatment for everything from large pores and acne to rashes and more. Tomatoes have cooling elements to soothe raw skin, astringents to remove excess oil, and tons of vitamin C and A to brighten dull skin and restore its health. Try these homemade skin-care remedies using tomatoes, and you’re sure to see a big difference in your skin.
Shrink pores with tomato and lime: Combine one tablespoon of fresh tomato juice with two to four drops of fresh lime juice. Apply the mixture with a cotton ball and massage gently into skin using circular motions. Leave on the skin for about 15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm or water to shrink pores even further, then moisturize.
Cure acne with tomato pulp: Mash a fresh tomato and apply the pulp liberally to your face. Leave on skin for an hour or more, then rinse and moisturize. Do this every day for several days and your acne will disappear.
Cleanse skin with a tomato-and-avocado mask: Good enough to eat, a tomato-and-avocado mask is great for combination skin (oily, normal, and dry) because it combines the astringent, blackhead- and oil-reducing benefits of tomatoes with the antiseptic and moisturizing properties of avocados. This super-rich mask also contains vitamin A, C and E, all of which are essential for healthy skin. To make this soothing mask, mash tomato and avocado together in a bowl. Mix well and smooth on your face. Rinse after 20 to 30 minutes with lukewarm water.
Make a quick and easy tomato facial: Cut a tomato in half and rub it on your face. Press into blackheads. Rinse and moisturize.
Use tomato as an astringent: To remove excess oil from your skin, crush a fresh tomato and strain, then set the juice aside. Next, squeeze a cucumber into the tomato juice. Apply to skin with a cotton ball daily to keep oil and acne under control.
Cool irritated skin with a tomato-and-yogurt mask: If your skin is raw, irritated, itchy, sunburned, red, blotchy, or scaly, you’ll enjoy the benefits of this yogurt-and-tomato mask. Yogurt gives skin a protein boost and leaves skin soft, while tomato cools and neutralizes the skin’s surface. Crush half a tomato and add two tablespoons of plain, unsweetened yogurt. Mix well and spread the mixture on your face. Let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Get glowing skin with tomato juice and honey: Mix honey and tomato juice and apply to your face and neck. Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Your skin will be smooth and glowing!
Cure sunburn with tomato juice and buttermilk: Mix two teaspoons of tomato juice with four tablespoons of buttermilk. Apply it all over your skin. Leave on skin for a half hour, then rinse gently.