Even when fresh tomatoes are out of season, you can still load up on lycopene, the antioxidant that makes tomatoes red. In fact, a bit of heat exposurelike that involved in the canning processhelps break down tomatoes’ cell walls and increases lycopene absorption. In one study, people who ate canned tomatoes absorbed as much as two-and-a-half times more lycopene than those who ate fresh. Eating foods high in lycopene may reduce risk of prostate, lung, and stomach cancers, as well as heart disease and macular degeneration.
Choose It & Use It
This is one case where packaged tomato products, such as soup, paste, sauce, and even ketchup, are better than fresh. Because lycopene is fat-soluble, adding a bit of olive oil will boost absorption even more. If you’re concerned about exposure to BPA in canned foods (the effects of which are still being studied), look for products sold in glass jars or BPA-free Tetra Pak cartons.
get the recipes
Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Soup with White Beans & Swiss Chard
Years ago, Abigail Henson’s sister, Mary Boccardo, turned her on to the idea of cooking school after seeing an ad for the Natural Gourmet Institute in the back of VT. Their paths led them away from their dreams of writing cookbooks and opening a teahouse together, but both sisters eventuallymore
Watermelon, Grape, and Tomato Salad
Refreshing and light, this main-course salad graces a hot summer meal with its tangy yet sweet tones. Add or subtract melon, grapes, and tomatoes as you please, adjusting the vinegar accordingly. For an attractive variation, use a melon baller to prepare the watermelon.more
Quick Pesto with Broiled Tomatoes
Broiled, vine-ripened tomatoes are a seasonal vehicle for fresh basil pesto. Serve warm or at room temperature.more
Millet Tabbouleh with Cilantro and Lime
Millet can be cooked anywhere from 15 minutes for chewy, al dente grains to 30 minutes for a creamy mush. Here, a short cooking time and ample rinsing give millet a couscous-like texture. Finishing the dish with uncooked millet seeds lends it extra crunch.more