Fresh Tomato Recipes
With Renee Lortie

Renee Lortie of Fresh Tomato Recipes has come to talk about fresh tomatoes and how to use our summer abundance in delicious recipes.

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When I thought about recipes for fresh tomatoes, the first thing I came up with was salad. What other recipes can you tell us about?

Caprese salad

It's true that when you think about using a fresh tomato, your first thought for preparing them is probably in a salad like a Caprese, a simple vinaigrette with garlic and herbs, or even a fresh tomato salsa for your tacos.

But fresh tomatoes are not just for eating raw!

What else can you do with fresh tomatoes?

Cook them! In fact, tomatoes are the only vegetable whose nutrient value actually rises when cooked.

So a roasted tomato meat sauce with pasta, a homemade tomato soup, a stuffed tomato, homemade ketchup -- or even tomato jam! -- not only offers rich and delicious flavour but a big hit of nutrition along with it.

Tomatoes are truly a superfood -- a big part of my adoration for them.

What's the most unusual fresh tomato recipe you've found?

There are many recipes for tomato cake out there!

I think one of the most unusual recipes I have come across has to be a fresh tomato cake.

That's right, a decadent dessert!  Not your first thought when considering what to make with a fresh tomato.

Tomatoes are technically (botanically) a fruit. They come from the ovary of the plants' flower.

The confusion over whether to call them a vegetable or fruit comes from them being widely used by chefs as a vegetable in their recipes.

I'm still developing my own fresh tomato cake recipe, but I can tell you it will be spiced with freshly ground cinnamon, cloves and cardamon, and iced with a citrus zested butter cream frosting.

Sounds yummy! What tomatoes do you recommend we use?

As long as they are available from my garden, I use only heirloom tomatoes.

Why is that?

Heirloom tomatoes are the original tomato, offering great taste and full nutritional value.

They also come in more than 700 varieties with amazing shapes and colours from the traditional round red ones to purple, black, green and even white! 

I grow about 25-30 varieties every year and have developed a list of my favourites which is always being added to.

Most tomatoes available to you in your supermarket are not heirloom, but hybrids. Hybrids for the most part, have been bred to exhibit qualities like perfect roundness, even colour, and firm texture to allow for long transport times. The outcome is a flavourless, grainy, and far less nutritional fruit than that of its heritage beginnings.

So I encourage everyone to grow heirlooms of their own!

Thanks for stopping by, Renee!

Visit Renee's website to learn more about fresh tomato recipes.

See recipes that others have shared on this site (and share your own!):

Tomato Onion Raita

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

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