The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a fruit from the nightshade family native to South America. While botanically it is a fruit, it is typically prepared and eaten like a vegetable.
Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene and a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K, making it beneficial for heart and skin health and cancer prevention.
Fresh tomatoes are low in carbohydrates, consist mostly of simple sugars and insoluble fibers, and are 95% water.
Tomatoes are usually red when mature, but also come in a variety of colors, including yellow, orange, green, and purple, and many subspecies of tomatoes exist with different shapes and flavor.
Sun-dried tomatoes retain much of their antioxidants and vitamins and possess an intense sweet-tart flavor that is considerably more potent than fresh tomatoes, so a little goes a long way. They also have a chewier texture. Any type of tomato is good for drying, but the best tomatoes for drying are the Roma and San Marzano tomatoes.
How do you make sun-dried tomatoes? Lay them out in the sun, bake them in the oven or use a dehydrator. Drying essentially removes moisture from food and this inhibits the growth of fungi and bacteria and slows down the enzyme activity without deactivating them. These factors ensure that food doesn’t spoil easily and hence, makes drying a successful food preservation technique.
Source: healthline.com and nourishdoc.com
Recipe – Sun-Dried Tomato Bruschetta
12 (1/4-inch thick) sliced baguette (about ½ a large baguette)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup vegan ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp. parsley or basil, chopped
Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Brush the baguette slices with olive oil.
- Bake for 3-4 minutes until lightly toasted.
- While the bread is baking, chop the sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces.
- Toss with the cherry tomatoes until combined.
- Spread vegan ricotta cheese on each baguette and top with tomato mixture.
- Sprinkle with parsley or basil, if desired. Add salt to taste.