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Summer Solstice and Summer Tomatoes

Jun 21 2013

by Whitney Long

Today is the official first day of summer and the longest day of the year. While this is cause to celebrate, equally as important to me is it means that tomato season is in full swing! Yes, I know, I know… you can get tomatoes year round but they are but mere imitators of our southern summer tomatoes. Can they compare to the sweet and juicy ones you grab off the vine and eat straight out of your hand or the ones freshly picked for a tomato sandwich on a hot summer day? I think not!

Tomatoes have long been a part of our history in the south. Tomatoes arrived in North America before the Revolutionary War, with the earliest reference to them in 1710, when an herbalist reported seeing them in what is now South Carolina. Thomas Jefferson grew tomatoes at Monticello back in 1781, but they didn’t really start to become popular here until after the Civil War. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the tomato gained popularity in the U.S. and since that time, we can’t seem to get enough.

Whether served at breakfast, lunch or supper, tomatoes are a versatile food and a frequent presence on our plates. Although part of the fruit family, and often called the love apple or golden apple in France and Italy, here in the South we treat it like a vegetable.

Not only do tomatoes taste delicious, they are super healthy. A great source of vitamins (A, C, E and K) and magnesium, niacin, iron, phosphorus and copper they have long been linked to a healthy lifestyle. For more info on the many health benefits of tomatoes read here: http://bangordailynews.com/2012/06/18/health/the-fruit-that-is-one-of-americas-favorite-vegetables-2/?ref=mostReadBoxLiving

Lucky for us peak season runs from June to September so you have plenty of time to enjoy this summer culinary treat. Head to your garden (or if you’re lucky like me your neighbor’s yard), farmer’s market or local grocery and grab some of summer’s sweetest and healthiest bounty then try some of our favorite recipes highlighting the tomato:

Baked Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes

http://www.producepete.com/recipes/bakedspinachstuffedtomatoes.html

Tomato Pie

http://www.southernplate.com/2012/06/tomato-pie.html

Open Face Caprese Sandwich

http://eatcookread.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/caprese-style-open-faced-sandwich/

Tomato Watermelon Sorbet

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/tomato-watermelon-sorbet-10000001634658/

Breakfast Tomato Frittata

http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Tomato-Frittata-Recipezaar_1

Tomato and Vidalia Onion Pizza

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Vidalia-Onion-Tomato-Pizza/Detail.aspx

Fresh Tomato Gazpacho Soup

http://americanfood.about.com/od/appetizersandsoups/r/gazpacho.htm

Fresh Tomato and Chicken Casserole

http://www.recipelion.com/Chicken-Casserole-Recipes/Fresh-Tomato-Chicken-Casserole#

Photo: www.earthtimes.org

2 COMMENTS

Whitney Long View More Blog Posts from this Author

Whitney Long is co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit. Mama x 4, wife x 1. Entrepreneur, thinker, doer, writer, researcher, believer. Enjoys working alongside creative entrepreneurs to build community while supporting established and upcoming brands. Hobbies include travel, reading, bike rides and clever craft cocktails.

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2 responses on “Summer Solstice and Summer Tomatoes

  1. thesoutherncoterie

    Happy Summer! LOVE this time of year and tomatoes with everything! All of those recipes sound awesome including Amber’s tomato and pimento cheese! Yum!

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