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Cooking Tomatoes

Q1.      Does, adding fresh tomatoes slow the cooking of certain foods?

A1.      Some foods such as rice and potatoes take longer to cook when tomatoes are added.  It seems that the
                     acid from the tomatoes prevents the starch from these  foods to break down.

Q2.      If cooking tomato sauce in an iron pan, do the vitamins of the tomatoes absorb some of the iron?

A2.      Studies have shown that iron utensils such as cast-iron skillets and Dutch ovens contribute significantly to the
                    
iron content in cooked foods.  The amount that leaches into the food varies depending on which food you are
                     cooking

Q3.      What are the natural herd partners for tomatoes?

A3.      The natural herb partners for tomatoes are mint, parsley, basil and oregano.  For best flavour, use fresh herbs whenever possible.      

Q4.      How can you bring out the natural sweetness of tomatoes?

A4.      Season tomatoes with a pinch of sugar to bring out their natural sweetness. 

Q5.      What could under ripe green tomatoes be used for?

A5.      Under-ripe green tomatoes are good to be used for making chutneys and pickles.

Q6.      What can over-ripe tomatoes be used for?

A6.      Over-ripe tomatoes can be used to make soups or sauces which can be stored in the freezer for up to six
                     months.

Q7.      How would you skin tomatoes?

A7.      To skin tomatoes, place them in a pan of boiling water for 15 seconds and the skins will then peel of easily.

Q8.      How can you test if tomatoes are fresh?

A8.      There are two tests to tell if a tomato is fresh.  One is the smell, which should be faintly aromatic and the other is that the calyx, the stalk leaves, should look fresh and green.  Most of the tomato scent comes from the leaves and stem, rather than the fruit itself.  This is why vine tomatoes have a stronger aroma.

Q9.      How would you make sun-dried tomatoes?

A9.      To make your own sun dried tomatoes, sprinkle equal amounts of caster sugar and salt over halved tomatoes.  Place them cut side up on a baking sheet and cook in the oven on a low heat for 2.5 hours until most of the liquid has dried out

Q10.    How could you ripen home grown tomatoes?

A10.    To ripen home grown tomatoes, place them in a paper bag with a ripe tomato and keep at room temperature.

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