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Tomatoes and Cucumbers

Contributed by: News Canada

(NC) - Now is the season to enjoy Ontario grown field tomatoes and cucumbers. Although tomatoes and cucumbers are available year round, they are at their best from July to October! Locally grown tomatoes and cucumbers are picked at a greater degree of ripeness than those shipped across the continent. When grown closer to their market, these veggies are left on the vine longer, so their flavour and texture remain at their best.

Although, the tomato is technically a fruit, it is considered by most to be a vegetable because of the way it is used in meals and snacks. The tomato is native to South America and was brought over to Europe by Spanish explorers in the 16th Century. Today, many cultures enjoy tomatoes as part of their dishes. Tomatoes combine well with many foods such as: pastas, meat and fish dishes as well as with other vegetables.

Tomatoes are high in vitamin A and vitamin C and contain a plant chemical called lycopene. Lycopene gives tomatoes, watermelons and pink grapefruits their red colour. Lycopene is an antioxidant that can protect the body's cells from damage, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

Cucumbers have a very high water content. As a result, they are not only crisp and moist but also very cool. Cucumbers belong to the squash family of vegetables and were first cultivated in Asia.

Invite tomatoes and cucumbers along by:

  • Cutting slices or chunks of cucumbers and tomatoes into salads
  • Piling cucumbers and tomatoes onto sandwiches, in pitas and in wraps
  • Choosing cucumbers and tomatoes as a snack with a low fat yogurt dip
  • Using tomatoes to make pasta sauce from scratch
  • Adding sliced tomatoes to grilled cheese sandwiches or tuna melts
  • Using tomatoes in meat, fish and chicken recipes
  • Topping green salads, rice dishes and pasta salads with cherry or grape tomatoes

At this time of year, take advantage of locally grown tomatoes and cucumbers to help you reach the goal of 5-10 servings of vegetables and fruits a day.

Fancy But Easy Tomato and Cucumber Salad

  • 2 medium sized cucumbers 2
  • 4 medium sized tomatoes 4
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 30mL
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 15 mL
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar 30mL
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley 125ml

Peel the cucumbers. Cut one cucumber into thin slices and dice the second cucumber

Wash the tomatoes. Cut the top off each tomato and hollow them out.

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, pepper and salt. Add diced cucumber and toss with dressing.

Fill each tomato with diced cucumber and top with some parsley.

Place the tomatoes on a serving platter. Put the cucumber slices around and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!


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