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Want more lycopene? Try this. August 28, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, recipes.
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Silence Dogood here. For whatever reason, I’ve always loved orange and yellow tomatoes more than red ones. Sure, a ripe red tomato is great, but for me, the flavor of an orange tomato trumps a red one every time.

I’ve always felt guilty about this because of the much-trumpeted news that the lycopene found in red tomatoes is so good for you. This super-antioxidant is even more bioavailable when cooked in a tomato sauce. (And yes, of course I love tomato sauce, pizza sauce, and the like.) Was I shortchanging myself by eating orange tomatoes instead?

Turns out, the answer is no. Research has now revealed that the lycopene in raw orange tomatoes is far more bioavailable than the lycopene in raw red tomatoes. Hooray! And it’s even more available when combined with olive oil.

Oh happy day! My all-time favorite summer salad is a play on the classic Caprese salad. I start with a bed of Romaine lettuce to add crunch, or a combo of Romaine, butter/Boston lettuce, and arugula to add depth and crunch. On top, I alternate slices of tomato, sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla), fresh mozzarella, and whole basil leaves. Then I sprinkle chopped scallions (green onions) over the salad, add salt (we like Real Salt) and fresh-cracked black pepper, and drizzle on some luscious extra-virgin olive oil (our favorite is Hojiblanca, from Spain). Yummmmmm!!! So easy, and so good.

I also enjoy thick slices of orange tomato on toasted whole-wheat bread with Hellman’s mayonnaise or Vegenaise, lettuce, and Cheddar cheese. And of course they’re perfect cut in more manageable segments in any salad.

So hit the orange tomatoes, splash on some olive oil, and enjoy your lycopenes while tomato season lasts! There’ll be plenty of time for spaghetti sauce and pizza come winter.

‘Til next time,

Silence

Comments»

1. Ruby - August 28, 2013

Ever tried autumn olive berries? Apparently they have even more lycopene than tomatoes. Plus they’re an invasive species, so every berry you pick is good for the environment. They make a mighty mean jam, if you can deal with the thorns to pick them.

Hi Ruby! No, I’ve never tried autumn olive berries, but I’m glad they’re good for something (besides, of course, providing abundant food for birds, which just helps spread them even more). What a pity plants that are so beautiful, like autumn olive and lythrum and even multiflora rose, are so invasive! Fortunately, there aren’t any autumn olives where I live here in scenic PA, so no jam for me. But readers, if you live where the silvery-leaved autumn olive grows, remember to try some jam when the fruit is ripe!


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