7 Ways to Enjoy Fresh Summer Tomatoes (#3 May Surprise You!)

heirloom tomatoes
iStock/tvirbickis

Is there anything more deliciously evocative of summer than the rich flavor of heirloom tomatoes? When those first summer tomatoes come into the farmer’s market (or, if you’re lucky, right off the garden vine), it can be tough to think of any way you’d enjoy them more than sliced with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

But as summer marches on, it’s fun to get a bit more creative with your summer tomatoes. Here are seven of our favorite recipes to inspire you!

Gazpacho recipe
iStock/OksanaKiian

1. Simple Summer Gazpacho

This cold Spanish soup is a great way to feature summer staples: not just summer tomatoes but cucumber and red bell pepper. The chilled soup is thickened, not with bread, as in traditional recipes, but rather with hemp seeds, lending texture and depth of flavor but keeping this gazpacho gluten-free.

Heirloom Tomato o Toast
Image: Karissa Bowers

2. Heirloom Tomato Toast

Put avocado toast on hold for the summer, and pave the way for fresh heirloom tomatoes instead. This tomato toast is even simpler than bruschetta, featuring just summer tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil.

iStock/barol16

3. Tomato and Strawberry Salad

This salad pairs two summer ingredients you don’t see together all too often, but while strawberries and tomatoes may be rare bedfellows, both pair wonderfully with basil – and, as you’ll see, with one another.

Balsamic vinegar and a touch of baby arugula really send this salad over the top. Pick multicolored tomatoes and a mix of red and yellow strawberries for the most striking salad.

cherry tomato pizza
iStock/LauriPatterson

4. Grilled Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes

No need to heat up the house for this pizza; just fire up the grill and soon you’ll be ready to devour this delicious combo of charred dough, cheese, and fresh tomatoes.

Heirloom Tomato Pie Recipe
Photo by Oliver Parini, reprinted with permission from “The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook”, The Countryman Press 2015

5. Heirloom Tomato Pie

This savory pie features a super simple combination of fresh tomatoes, fontina, mayonnaise, and basil. It’s the perfect way to use up extra tomatoes from your garden in a delicious vegetarian main.

Baked Eggs in Tomatoes
Image: Baked Tomatoes via Shutterstock

6. Baked Eggs in Tomatoes with Pesto

Picture this: a rich, summery tomato filled with an oozy, perfectly cooked egg. Add some homemade arugula pesto, and you’re ready to enjoy this dairy-free dish. Consider serving these tomatoes alongside grilled steak or vegetables, or simply on their own with lots of bread for mopping up all of the delicious juices.

corn salad
Image: Kate Gavlick

7. Baked Wild Salmon with a Zesty Tomato, Avocado, and Corn Salad

Tomato plays a supporting role in this recipe, alongside avocado, corn, and baked wild salmon. This dish is hearty and impressive enough for your next dinner party, but it’s super easy to prepare – especially when you have delicious seasonal ingredients to work with.

Related on Organic Authority
How It’s Made: MightyVine is Bringing Fresh, Local Tomatoes to Chicago 365 Days a Year
Scientists are Making Heirloom Tomatoes Taste Like Real Tomatoes Again
New Digital Series Explores Farm-to-Table Love (and Tomatoes)

Emily Monaco
Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.



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How To Cook Artichokes in 3 Easy Ways – Organic Authority

How To Cook Artichokes in 3 Easy Ways

The artichoke is a delicious, nutritious vegetable that works well both as an entree or a side dish. There are many ways to prepare and enjoy artichokes so we’re sharing how to cook artichokes three different ways. If you’ve never cooked artichokes before, don’t fret. It’s much easier than it looks and the results are tastier than you can imagine!

Artichokes are thistles which are flowering plants that fall into the vegetable category. This edible plant is full of vitamins C and K, antioxidants, fiber, and minerals. Artichokes have detoxifying properties and may aid the liver in ridding the body of toxins. They may also help to prevent disease with their high antioxidant content. Another amazing benefit of eating artichokes is, on average, an artichoke contains around 10 grams of fiber, which is crucial for healthy digestion. Artichokes may also help to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol, making these a heart-healthy choice!

If you’re lucky enough to live in sunshine-filled California, you can enjoy artichokes year-around. Their peak season is March through May so spring is an optimal time to head to the farmers market and pick up some farm-fresh artichokes. When selecting artichokes, first check the weight and texture. You’ll want a heavy, firm artichoke that’s free of bruising and heavy discoloration. Some purple streaks are normal and are present in most artichokes. A ripe and ready artichoke has tightly packed leaves, if they are separating and opening up, the artichoke will be dried out and will lack flavor.

For optimum health benefits, buy organic artichokes. Conventional artichokes can be heavily sprayed with pesticides. Plus organic artichokes will be even tastier! Once you’ve picked your perfect artichokes, you’re ready to move on to the preparation phase. Follow our simple steps and you’ll be ready to cook ‘em up!

How To Cook Artichokes

How To Cook Artichokes in 3 Easy Ways
Step One
Rinse your artichokes, allowing water to stream into the inner and outer leaves. Shake out the artichoke in the sink and then pat dry.

How To Cook Artichokes in 3 Easy Ways
Step Two
Pull off the base leaves closest to the stem and discard. Trim the remaining leaves by cutting off the sharp, pointy edges.

How To Cook Artichokes in 3 Easy Ways
Step Three

Using a sharp chef’s knife, chop off about ¾ inch off the crown of the artichoke.

How To Cook Artichokes in 3 Easy Ways
Step Four

Cut off ¼ inch from the bottom of the stem and discard. Using a vegetable peeler, peel around the stem. Next, chop ¾ of the stem off the artichoke but don’t discard! Cut the remaining stem into medallions as pictured. Reserve for later use.

How To Cook Artichokes in 3 Easy Ways
Step Five

Rub half of a lemon around the outside of the artichoke. This will help prevent browning. Set aside. Slice the other half of the lemon into thin rings.

To Boil:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in lemon slices and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Add artichokes, making sure they remain standing up. If you are using the stems, add the medallions to the pot as well. Cover loosely and boil for 30-90 minutes, depending on the size. Small artichokes will only take 30-40 minutes to cook while large artichokes will take 60-90 minutes. To tell if they are done, check to see if the leaf is fork tender. The inner leaves should be removed easily while the fleshy, edible portion of the leaf will be soft enough to bite easily. The stems should also be fork tender, they may finish faster than the artichoke and if so, remove from pot using a slotted spoon and set aside. Once artichokes are done drain in a colander and then serve alongside cooked stems.

To Steam:

Add enough water to a pot so that water reaches the bottom of the steamer basket. Add lemon slices and ½ teaspoon sea salt in the water. Place artichokes and stems in the basket and steam for 30 minutes or until leaves are fork tender. Serve immediately.

To Grill:

Follow steps one through five for preparation. Then, slice the artichokes in half, lengthwise. Remove the fuzzy choke using a spoon and discard. Place the artichokes in a pot of boiling water with lemon slices and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Boil for 20-30 minutes until tender but not falling apart.

Meanwhile, heat up a grill. If using a stove-top grill, heat over medium-high heat and lightly grease the pan with oil. Place the artichokes face down and grill for 3-5 minutes, until grill marks form. If using stems, place them in a grill basket or wrap them in foil and place on the grill until fork tender. If using a grill pan, place the stems directly on the pan. Grill until lightly charred.

How To Eat Artichokes

To eat your cooked artichokes, simply pull off a leaf and dig your teeth into the lower, soft edible flesh. Discard the rest of the leaf. Dip it into a sauce such as olive oil, melted butter, or mayonnaise if desired.

Once you get to the small inner leaves that are completely soft, pull them off and discard. Next, using a spoon scoop out the fuzzy choke. Chop up the artichoke heart and dunk in desired dipping sauce.

To eat the stem medallions, simply dip in dipping sauce and eat! Enjoy!

How To Cook Artichokes in 3 Easy Ways

Artichoke Recipes

Here are a few more artichoke recipes to test out your new skills!

Grilled Artichokes with Gremolata 

Grilled Artichoke Recipe

Image by Asa Dahlgren. Reprinted with permission from “The Summer Table” published in 2015 by Sterling Epicure. 

Potato Salad with Artichokes, Feta Cheese & Olive Relish

Potato Salad Recipe with Artichokes, Feta Cheese & Olive Oil
Image courtesy of author Georgeanne Brennan and Weldon Owen Publishing from the book, Salad of the Day (Williams-Sonoma): 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year.

How To Cook Artichokes

Related on Organic Authority
Grilled Artichokes Recipe with Gremolata
How To Cook Butternut Squash: 5 Delicious Ways To Enjoy This Vibrant Veggie
Potato Salad Recipe With Artichokes, Feta Cheese & Olive Relish

All images via Karissa Bowers unless otherwise stated.

Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers is a fashion and food blogger living a compassionate lifestyle. Karissa is the blogger of Vegan À La Mode where she shares her favorite vegan and gluten-free recipes and also her eco-friendly cruelty-free style. Her love for photographing food and her outfits, drove her to develop a passion for photography. After a few years of honing in on her photography skills, Karissa launched her business, Karissa Bowers Photography, where she shoots weddings and portraits. When she’s not taking photos or in the kitchen, you can find Karissa traveling and trying new vegan restaurants.



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3 Things You Need to Know About Washing Produce (Even the Pre-Washed Stuff)

3 Things You Need to Know About Washing Produce (Even the Pre-Washed Stuff)
iStock/PeopleImages

There’s no arguing with the health benefits of fresh, raw fruits and vegetable… and yet it seems that you can’t scroll through your newsfeed these days without hearing about another produce contamination scandal and subsequent product recall due to foodborne illness.

With bacteria growing ever more resistant to antibiotics, now more than ever, it’s important to be the last line of defense between your family and foodborne illness. But according to a 2016 survey by the FDA, only about half of people wash bagged or prepared produce, like the romaine lettuce at the heart of the latest contamination scandal, before consuming it.

To help you protect yourself and your family, here are three things you probably didn’t know about keeping produce clean. This could be the difference between a healthy, happy family and falling victim to of one of the next scares.

1. Organic produce still needs to be washed

If you’re buying organic, you might be convinced that you don’t need to wash your produce; after all, one of the major health benefits of consuming organic is that you don’t need to worry about added chemicals, right?

In fact, the misconception that you don’t need to wash organic fruits and veggies is far from the reality.

Jaydee Hansen, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Food Safety, notes that all produce – even organic apples or carrots from your own garden – need to be washed before consumption.

“Organic produce needs to be washed, as it still can have pathogens on it,” he says.

Some pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are approved for organic, such as copper sulfate, which is a common fungicide approved for use in organic that is nevertheless linked to health problems when consumed in large doses. Add to this the fact that organic produce can be contaminated due to spray drift, that it might be coated in wax if shipped long distances, and that no produce is immune to bacterial contamination, and it’s no surprise that washing is still important, even when you’re buying organic.

Opt for organic whenever you can, especially for items on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, which are the items most likely to be contaminated with pesticides… but remember that doesn’t exempt you from washing before you dig in.

2. Rinsing is not enough to prevent foodborne illness

When you’re washing your produce, how do you usually go about it?

If you’re like many people, a quick rinse under a stream of running water is probably the most you do – and it’s not enough. Washing off any visible dirt or residue will certainly make your produce taste better, but it isn’t enough to remove bacteria or pesticides from the outside of your fruits and vegetables.

“The safest way to wash produce, including that which is labeled ‘already washed,’ is to wash or rinse it three times,” explains Hansen.

One study from The Department of Analytical Chemistry at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station found that at least 30 seconds of rinsing is best to “significantly reduce” the presence of pesticides and fungicides from the surface of your produce, and friction is important to ensure you’re actually getting all traces off, so investing in a scrub brush that you use specifically for your fruits and veggies may be a good idea.

3. Your best line of defense? Acid.

If you want to be very sure your produce is clean, you could also opt to use an additional product to help you remove any residues.

Some old wives’ tales point to vinegar as the ideal substance, seeing as it’s safe for consumption and you probably already have it lying around, but while a study from the University of Florida found that rinsing produce with a 10 percent vinegar solution reduced both viruses and bacteria by more than 90 percent, this homegrown solution can be problematic, both because it imparts a vinegar flavor to produce and because it might not be enough to remove oily or waxy coatings.

For Hansen, a combination of three basic ingredients can help keep produce super clean and devoid of any pathogens or chemicals: a weak acid, a salt, and a surfactant to loosen oils and waxes present in pesticide sprays and wax coatings. All three are present in eatCleaner, a product invented by Mareya Ibrahim, chef and holistic nutrition expert that also contains calcium carbonate and ascorbic acid; these antioxidants have been proven to extend the shelf life of produce naturally.

Tests performed by third-party labs have shown that eatCleaner can remove up to 99.8 percent of chemicals like herbicides atrazine and simazine from the surface of produce and can kill off bacteria like E. coli and Listeria present on raw leafy greens in 120 seconds of contact time. A recent test even showed that the product could remove 97 percent of pesticides from porous fruits like strawberries, without changing the flavor of the food itself.

A product like eatCleaner is especially useful if you can’t source organic produce for whatever reason.

“I love what organic means,” says Ibrahim. “I grew up in the industry; I love that the whole goal is to take care of the earth and to take care of our health. But the truth is that not everybody has access to it, and we have to give people other solutions that work.”

Whatever solutions you choose, washing produce properly will help you ensure that you’re keeping your family safe, healthy, and happy.

Related on Organic Authority
How to Save Water by Hand-Washing Dishes Like This
Does Washing Fruits and Vegetables Prevent Foodborne Illnesses?
Arsenic in Your Rice? How to Decrease the Contamination Risk

Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.



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12 Healthy Dinners for Under $3 per Serving

https://www.budgetbytes.com

Sometimes it feels like you can only eat healthy if you’re willing to spend a lot of money. Avocados are all the rage, but they’re also a dollar a pop—even more if you’re buying organic. Not to mention all the overpriced salad chains, $10 smoothies, and the fancy spices and vinegars that may or may not turn you into a wellness influencer. (Spoiler: They Will Not.) With all of these things taking over social media, it can seem like eating healthy on the cheap is impossible.

I’m here to tell you that it definitely isn’t. There are tons of hacks that registered dietitians use to save money at the grocery store, like stocking up on items when they’re on sale and shopping seasonal produce. But even if you don’t use these tricks, there still ways to eat well without breaking the bank.

Really, it’s about having a series of tried-and-true, inexpensive recipes in your arsenal. The internet is rife with budget bloggers making healthy meals with hardly anything, because they rely on simple staples like beans and rice as well as affordable produce and protein sources. These 14 recipes are so cheap, each one costs less than $3 per serving to make. (Either the blogger calculated and provided this information, or we did the math using prices from Peapod.) They all make multiple servings, which means they’re great for meal prep. And, they’re filled with all the fiber, protein, and healthy carbs you need to feel good.

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