This time of the year is prime time for tomatoes

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Oh tomatoes! We all look forward to those first red luscious summer tomatoes, fresh from the garden or Farmer’s Market. They are highly anticipated and watched over with tender loving care.

In fact, mythology has it that the tomato was once known as the “love apple.” It was thought that to eat a ripe tomato would solve any marital discourse!

Although eaten year round, they are best enjoyed at the height of their season which runs anywhere from June to September. Store ripe tomatoes at room temperature for up to three days. Cut tomatoes should always be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator.

The health benefits of consuming tomatoes are many. They are high in luteins which benefit the eyes and beta carotene which helps with the absorption of vitamins. Here is a recipe for homemade tomato sauce that can be used in several ways. And if you feel a little vitamin deficient while you are preparing your meal, why not have a cold Bloody Mary while you cook, just think of the nutrients!

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Bon Appetit!

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon minced fresh oregano

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 Tablespoons fresh basil

Prepare:

1. Place the tomatoes in a tomato press or food mill held over a bowl and pass the tomatoes through the press or mill. Repeat as needed until all the large pieces of tomatoes are crushed. Set aside.

2. In a saute pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about two minutes.

Add the oregano and stir to combine. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and cook, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened, 15-20 minutes.

Stir in the the basil and cook one minute. Serve this with gnocchi or your favorite pasta or use as pizza sauce.

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