What better way to mark the arrival of summer than with lovely fresh tomatoes. Somehow as a kid, I was never really a big fan of tomatoes but thankfully in my “old age” – I have finally come to my senses! Now I just cant seem to get enough of them. I always try to make the most out of tomatoes during the summer when they are at their seasonal peak. There is nothing better than picking your own home grown tomatoes right off the vine.
Tomatoes are technically a fruit but are mostly used in vegetable based recipes. Tomatoes are packed with lycopene – a phytonutrient with high levels of antioxidants. Lycopene is also thought to have anti-cancer properties, anti-inflammatory properties and play a large role in overall cardiovascular health. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of Vitamins A, C and K.
The tomato was actually thought to have originated in Mexico and then brought back to Europe by the Spanish explorers in the 16th century. It is now an essential ingredient in many cuisines around the world, India included. Today, there are approximately 7500 varieties of tomatoes grown globally.
My Spicy Tomato Juice is both refreshing and delicious. It’s a great way to start your day or enjoy it throughout the day if you wish. It’s simple, easy to prepare and healthy to boot. When choosing tomatoes, pick ripe but firm tomatoes with no blemishes or marks. Store tomatoes in a cool dry place at room temperature, not your refrigerator.
SPICY TOMATO JUICE
2 cups fresh tomatoes, rough chopped
1 stalk of celery (with the leaves)
1” piece of ginger, peeled and rough chopped
1 large garlic clove
2-3 small green Thai chilies, to taste
¼ cup cilantro leaves
½ tsp ground cumin powder
½ tsp garam masala
juice of ½ lemon (or lime)
salt & pepper, to taste
In a blender or food processor, combine all of the ingredients together and blend until smooth - only adding water if needed. Strain through a cheesecloth if you wish. Serve chilled or over ice.
Add your favorite vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers and even radishes. You can also add a few fresh seedless grapes for a subtle sweetness.
You can also add ½ cup buttermilk for a creamy tangy flavor. Instead of cilantro leaves, feel free to add mint leaves or basil leaves – a combination of various herbs will also be very tasty.