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Tune in soon for tomatoes

Published: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

How do you get rid of unproductive tomatoes? Can them. I'll wait for your laughter to subside before getting into this article, which is all about tomatoes.

As I checked over our garden, I couldn’t help but smile at all the little yellow flowers all over our tomato plants. What a great sign that tomatoes will soon be here.

Fresh tomatoes not only taste great but provide you with essential nutrients such as vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber. The rich, red coloring on tomatoes is because of a substance called lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been shown to help prevent prostate, lung and breast cancer. Lycopene is actually enhanced in the tomato when it is cooked. Adding a small amount of healthy oil, such as olive oil, will help to release more lycopene from the tomato.

Start planning now for your tomato bounty. As well as using tomatoes in salads, sandwiches, toppings for burgers or chicken, and as a home for tuna or chicken salad, I’m including a couple of recipes for you to try.

But first, one more tomato joke: Why did the tomato go out with the prune? Because he couldn’t find a date!

Fresh Tomato Salsa

Makes 10 servings, ½ cup each

4 cups diced tomatoes, (5-6 medium)

¾ cup finely diced red onion, (about 1 small)

¼ cup red-wine vinegar

1-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ teaspoon salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Per serving: Calories 21, Fat 0g, Carbohydrates 1g, Protein 1g, Fiber 1 g, Sodium 124 mg, Potassium 185 mg

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

Makes 4 servings

4 tomatoes, halved horizontally

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

4 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 91, Fat 6 g, Carbohydrates 6 g, Protein 3 g, Fiber 2 g, Sodium 375 mg, Potassium 363 mg.

Recipes from eatingwell.com

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