Monday, May 12, 2014

Farm Fresh in the Kitchen

This month's Farm Fresh in the Kitchen Blog is all about TOMATOES!  Juicy, yummy, delicious tomatoes.

Did you know?  One medium tomato (approximately 123 grams) provides 22 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrate (including 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of sugar) and 1 gram of protein. Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C and folic acid. Tomatoes contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, choline, folic acid, beta-carotene and lutein. 

Alpha-lipoic acid helps the body to convert glucose into energy. Some evidence suggests that alpha-lipoic acid can aid in blood glucose control, improve vasodilation and protect against retinopathy in diabetic patients and may even help preserve brain and nerve tissue.

Lycopene is the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their rich red color. Tomatoes account for 80 percent of lycopene consumption.
Choline is an important nutrient found in tomatoes that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation. (Source: Medical News Today).
Where to buy tomatoes? 
The City of Sumter runs the Downtown Market on Saturdays from May 3 - September 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The event  is on the corner of Liberty Street and Main Street, right beside Centennial Plaza. In addition to fresh produce, we will have music, food demonstrations, arts & crafts and more!

2014 Vendors:
Myra Barton: Quick sketch artist doing on-location portraits
Hugh China: Coffee, breakfast foods
Choosy Design by Chelsea Cataldi: 
Handmade children’s clothing and accessories
Country Bird Soap by Kathy Davis: 
Handmade soaps
Country Cured Meats by Jimmy Long: Meats
The Crochet Shoppe by Lara Oberman: 
Handmade crocheted items
Darin Tibbetts Photo by Darin Tibbetts: Photos

The Farm Store by Mike Dellinger: Produce, jams, breads, ice cream and more
For Belle’s Sake by Shelby Bird: Pet adoption/rescue
For the Birds by Terri Cox: Hand-painted gourds, birdhouses
Green Tree Farms by Patti Welday: Flowers, shrubs, plants, garden supplies
Lake Silver Studios by Karyn Walker: Folk art, collages, “green art”
Larry’s Local Honey by Larry Welle: Honey and beeswax candles
Palmetto Party Faces by Renee Robbins: Children’s face painting
Penelope’s Baskets by Penelope Carter: Pine needle baskets
Taylor Woodworking by Billy Taylor: Furniture and birdhouses

Additionally, the Sumter County Farmer's Market is located in the Agriculture Building adjacent to the Sumter Civic Center at 700 West Liberty Street, Sumter, SC 29153 Phone: (803) 468-1590 

Dorr Farms
Come visit and take a look. Phone to find out about its assortment of crafts, organic food, vegetables, fruits and local specialties. Hours are April-October Monday-Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Takes WIC, SFMNP, SNAP. 

For more local farms and markets, or to find one near you, check out the following links:

What's FRESH and when in South Carolina chart here

Today's recipe! Make your own Tomato Sauce (click for printable version)

3-4 lbs. fresh, ripe tomatoes (the more you have, the more sauce you can make)
Lemon juice or citric acid

Wash tomatoes, remove core and blossom ends.  Cut into quarters (I had a variety of tomatoes, so I quartered the large ones and cut in 1/2 the small Roma tomatoes).  Simmer in large stock pot 2 minutes; stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft.  Press tomatoes through a sieve or food mill (I used a food mill); discard peels and seeds.  Return to stove top and cook pulp over med-high heat until sauce thickens, stirring to prevent sticking.  Reduce volume by one-half for a thick sauce.  Add 1 tbls. lemon juice or 1/4 tsp citric acid to each pint jar, 2 tbls. lemon juice or 1/2 tsp citric acid per quart jar.  Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head-space. Adjust 2-piece caps.  Process pints 35 minutes, quarts 40 minutes, in a boiling water-bath canner.

Yield:  varies

Best variety for canning: Roma Tomatoes - Prized for its use in tomato paste and sauces since its introduction in 1955, Roma Tomatoes produce a large harvest of thick-walled, meaty, bright red, egg-shaped tomatoes about 3 inches long and with few seeds. This tomato is not juicy. This is not a slicing tomato. Instead, the flesh is thick and drier so that it will cook down into a thick sauce. Cooking intensifies flavor, too. If you can tomatoes, make your own spaghetti sauce, or like to chop a tomato into an omelet, this is a great choice. It's not too juicy in the pan compared to slicing tomatoes. The fruit freezes well for later cooking, too.

More tomato recipes:

Until next time,

Farm Fresh in the Kitchen is a feature of