tomato tips for the season

Nothing says warm-weather-food like a juicy tomatoes. They work as a super-fresh ingredient in everything from salads, to sandwiches, and pasta dishes.

A tomato still warm from the afternoon sun is also the perfect pairing with a sprinkle of salt and sliced on a crusty loaf of bread. There are so many varieties of tomato ranging in acidity and colors. Try a few this growing season and choose from different shapes and sizes.

There are different colors available like sunny yellow, classic tomato red and dark brown. Some are even striped.

To get your tomatoes off to the best start, choose a location that gets a lot of sunlight. You can choose a spot in the garden or a container.

You want the tomato plant to create as strong a root system as possible as soon as it can. Tomatoes grow on a vertical vine and can be a little leggy when first purchased. To help the tomato plant be rooted well right from the beginning there is one easy step to get them established quickly.

Locate the spot on the tomato plant where the first leaves appear. You want to bend the stem slightly and place the roots sort of sideways to have the soil line be even with the first leaves.

This submerges most of the young plant in the soil. This step will help the tomato plant take hold and build its strength quickly.

Another easy step to get your tomato plants on their way is to place some aluminum foil at the base of the plant to reflect as much of the sunlight back up to the plant as you can harness.

A favorite dish of ours in the summer is slices of tomato dressed with extra-virgin olive oil, kosher sat, and balsamic vinegar, layered with fresh mozzarella and some torn basil leaves from the garden. Simple and delicious.

Keep in mind that the “perfect” tomatoes you see in the supermarket are not going to taste like the ones from the farmers’ market or your own backyard.  The funny shaped, odd looking tomato at the farmers’ market will deliver more flavor than the perfectly shaped tomato in a supermarket. The supermarket tomatoes have had the growing process modified for the sake of appearance.

Stay as true to nature’s food as you can! For more healthy eating ideas for the kids this summer check out my post this week over at Parade.

See you tomorrow!


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