Terrific Tomatoes

As a child, I used to hate tomatoes.

Coming from a fruit and veggie lover, that seems absurd, doesn’t it? I wasn’t exactly a picky-eater, but I sure as heck did not want anything to do with tomatoes. They were too squishy, too seedy, too red – basically, anything and everything was wrong with them, according to seven-year old me.

But then, something changed. Maybe it was my mother’s constant persuasion to “just give them a try”, or maybe it was the fact that we grew them in our garden every summer, or maybe it was the moment that somebody told me that they’re actually fruits, and fruits are pretty delicious – whatever it was, it worked. I finally came to the conclusion that tomatoes aren’t that bad. They’re actually pretty neat!

Tomatoes are jam packed with goodness. Not only are they high in Vitamins A and C, they are also loaded with Lycopene, a phytochemical known to be present in many red fruits and vegetables that has a number of health benefits.

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An interesting study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that when foods containing the antioxidant lycopene were processed thermally, there was a significant increase in the nutritional value of the food. The antioxidant was more bio-available to the body, meaning that our bodies are able to convert this more readily, and therefore, we reap greater benefits from consuming these food products that have been heat-treated. This may surprise some, as it is often believed that thermal processing decreases the nutritional value of foods.

The fact that tomatoes are under-rated super foods is further supported by the research published in the Critical Reviews of Food Science and Nutrition, in which findings prove that a diet rich in this red fruit is cardio-protective, and there is a suggestion of the nutrients in tomatoes reducing LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol!).

So in honour of this incredible little fruit, I’ve decided to give tomatoes their light of day, and bring you a delicious (and nutritious), quick-and-easy tomato soup recipe! This recipe is a home-made creation that, according to some brave taste-testers (thanks, Steffie!), passes the “guaranteed delicious” test!

A little spicy, a little creamy, and a whole lot of YUM!

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Tasty Tomato Soup

(Makes 1 batch)

Preparation time required: 5 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sized tomatoes, ripe
  • Approx. 15 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, roasted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, roasted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp 1% milk
  • 2 tsp full-fat whipping cream
  • 1 tsp pumpkin oil (optional)

How to:

1. Pre-heat pan with olive oil on medium heat.

2. Dice onion, press garlic through garlic press ( or dice very finely). Add onions to pan, allowing them to lightly brown, reducing heat to medium-low, or reduce to low once desired colour has been achieved. Add in garlic, stir, and remove from heat after approx. 1 minute. Do not allow garlic to brown or burn.

3. Add in diced tomatoes, stir mixture, and keep on medium-low heat until softened (approx. 5 minutes).

4. Add in salt and pepper to taste.

5. Once mixture is well-softened, remove from heat and mix with food processor, or hand-blender. Tip: If using hand-blender, transfer mixture into sturdy bowl or pot, and blend in sink. This will minimize the mess as it can splatter!

6. Once smooth, place on low heat and stir in milk and whipping cream, as well as pumpkin oil.

7. Remove from heat, serve, and enjoy!

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Fun Nutrition Fact: Did you know this soup is low in sodium? It’s always better to go the home-made route! A lot of canned soups are often high in sodium, and in general, Canadians consume more than double their required amount of Sodium daily! Ditch the salt!

Sources:

Dewanto, V., Wu, X., Adom, K. K., & Liu, R. H. (2002). Thermal processing enhances the nutritional value of tomatoes by increasing total antioxidant activity. Journal of Agricultural and food chemistry, 50(10), 3010-3014.
Willcox, J. K., Catignani, G. L., & Lazarus, S. (2003). Tomatoes and cardiovascular health. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 43(1)

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