Growing fresh tomatoes is a wonderful hobby for many reasons and the grower does get so much delight from picking lovely fruit of their tomato plants. Because tomatoes grow so quickly I don’t find it any burden at all to visit my tomato patch each day, check on the watering and on those pests that insist on visiting while I am not there!
Growing tomatoes by hydroponics is becoming more and more popular too because they can be grown inside and the need for tending them can be done day or night and also with the right setup weather is not a problem.
Fresh home grown tomatoes are hard to beat as an addition to summer salads as they are so lively in taste and add a rush to any salad.
The nutritional value of tomatoes
Did you realize that tomatoes are an excellent source of antioxidants (vitamins and flavonoids which help keep degenerative diseases at bay, including the much feared cancer and heart disease? Tomatoes are right up there near the top of the list as one of the most beneficial foods to eat.
Interestingly enough, hundreds of years ago the tomato was considered a poisonous plant. Now it provides us with building blocks for a long and healthy life. Such are the findings of modern day living.
Tomato and Fennel Salad (my favorite)
On a 50/50 ratio quarter fresh medium tomatoes and finely slice a fennel bulb into a bowl. For every five tomatoes finely slice one small red onion and add to bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Half an hour before serving drizzle with French dressing and leave for flavor to be absorbed. Top up with a small amount more of the dressing just prior to serving.
Tomato, Basil and Pasta Salad
In a pot of boiling water add 1 cup of Butterfly Pasta. Cook until aldente, approximately 6-7 minutes and drain. Run cold water over to cool quickly then when properly drained, add to salad bowl. Quarter 5 medium sized tomatoes and add them to the salad bowl. Tear a handful of fresh basil leaves in half and add to bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dress with vinaigrette.
Wombok and Cherry Tomato Salad
12 cherry tomatoes
½ red capsicum
1 Tablespoon baby capers
Finely slice wombok, gherkins and capsicum and add to bowl. Half cherry tomatoes and add to bowl. Add baby capers. Half an hour before serving drizzle with Caesar dressing. Add more dressing prior to serving if required.
Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Slice 3 large tomatoes and 1 – 2 Lebanese cucumbers. Finely slice one white or red onion into half rings. Sprinkle with rock salt and ground pepper. About 20 mins. before serving add dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, toss gently.
So that you can make your salads a little different each time and taste a little different too, why not grow different varieties of tomatoes? Do you realise that there are at least over 7,500 varieties of tomatoes and some even say over 10,000! Wow, isn’t that amazing!