There is something so quintessentially summer about tomatoes. When I bite into one it’s almost like tasting sunshine. I used to despise tomatoes, due in large part to the lackluster presentation of them in soggy sandwiches in the dead of winter; and then I had a tomato right off the vine in the summer sun- then I understood what everyone was fawning about. The lesson, winter and tomatoes do not mix, they are a summer vegetable and I choose only to enjoy them when they are at their best.
Another reason that tomatoes should be enjoyed only from local purveyors in the summer is that the commercial tomato industry in the United States, where most large chain grocers source tomatoes in the winter months, is wrought with human rights violations. Workers are forced to work in extreme heat, where they take in less than $50 a day for painstaking work; farmers have even been indicted for slavery- yes, modern day slavery still exists and you could be supporting it with every bite of that tasteless winter tomato. I generally endeavor to keep this place preach free; however, if what we adorn our plates with can take a stand against injustices toward our fellow man, I think it’s worth a mention. The tomatoes in this recipe are 100% slave free and purchased from my local farmer’s market; having shaken hands with the person who cultivated these juicy baubles I am confident that they are not only organic, but SLAVE FREE!
I consider tomatoes to be a superfood; because the tomato is one of the healthiest foods we can consume as it contains lycopene, which offers protection against prostate cancer and compounds to help prevent blood clots- ladies, if you’re on the pill, eat more tomatoes. The salicylates in tomatoes offer an anticoagulant effect; and because they are low in calories, high in potassium and high in fiber, they are certainly a part of a complete summer diet. Growing tomatoes is easier than ever, all they need is sunlight water and time- that’s all. And vine ripened tomatoes are higher in the heart loving lycopene than those ripened after picking; yet another reason to get on the gardening train! And when tomatoes are enjoyed with a little bit of oil, the absorption of all these health boosting nutrients is improved.
I call this a superfood tomato salsa because I made it for a Mexican themed dinner party, to adorn various taco creations; but I witnessed my friends enjoying it by the spoonful all by its lonesome- it’s your choice! A word to the wise, wear gloves when deseeding your jalapeno; in a rush I didn’t take my own advice, and then I proceeded to use my hands to rub on my Soapwalla deodorant cream; let’s just say my armpits felt the burn.
I digress, this is THE season of the tomato, enjoy them with wild abandon; starting with salsa!
Superfood Tomato Salsa
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp salt
Bring a pot of water to boil; add garlic and shallot to a strainer and pour the boiling water over them. Drain. Combine with the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least an hour to ensure all the flavors have combined.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy summer tomatoes?!