The crisp weather and pretty leaves changing color remind us that fall is arriving. With it comes apples, pumpkins, and cozy blankets. However, if you want summer to last just a little longer, tomatoes grow July through September. They are a great way to hold onto the tastes and memories of the season! Here are a few harvest hints to help you make the most of the bounty.
Health benefits of tomatoes.
There’s nothing like the earthy, sweet smell of a tomato to bring summer to mind. But tomatoes also offer many vitamins and minerals. They are full of vitamin C, folate, potassium, vitamin K. They are also rich in the antioxidant lycopene. These nutrients can support immune and heart health. A slice of tomato can remind you of this. Like a heart, a tomato also has chambers. See if you can find them the next time you cut one!
Don’t let those fresh veggies go to waste!
There are many ways to access tasty, local tomatoes. You can look to a generous neighbor or a home or community garden. You can also buy them from a local farm or farm stand. The Maine Senior FarmShare program offers farm shares to eligible older adults at no charge. Tomatoes come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about an unfamiliar variety! Here are some tips for storing and preserving to make the most of the season. Using these tools, you can enjoy summer tastes year-round:
- Storing: Tomatoes should be eaten or processed within a day or two of peak ripeness. To ripen, place the whole tomatoes upside down on the counter. Keep them out of direct sunlight. They will ripen even faster in a paper bag. Then try this baked tomato and cheese recipe when they’re ready!
- Freezing: Follow this easy to use Cooking Matters Food Storage tip sheet for freezing fresh produce.
- Canning: Try this resource from the UMaine Cooperative Extension. It offers best practices and safety guidelines.
This post was created through a partnership with Maine SNAP-Ed, the University of New England, and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. For more great recipes and cooking tips, and to sort recipes by ingredients or meal types, visit Maine SNAP-Ed’s recipe collection!