Is summer still summery where you are? If so, lucky you.
The seasons always change so quickly here, and it catches me off guard every time. Although summer still technically has another month to go, there is a bit of a nip in the air already.
The good news, though, is that the summer was mostly glorious hot. We missed a (by Swedish standards) bonkers heat wave, while we were back in BC, but we arrived back just in time for the Farmer’s market to get into swing, and boy oh boy, those tomatoes.
If you’re a gardner, late August may have you seeing red. The little red and orange cherry tomatoes in the lead shot are from our tiny balcony garden, carefully tended by a friend while we were away.
Our farmer’s market had all kinds of tomatoes on offer, and we greedily brought home at least two of every kind; a Noah’s Ark of heirloom tomatoes. Gazpacho was the obvious thing to do.
Chop, blend, chill, serve. Gazpacho is the simplest thing. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s jammed full of straight up unadulterated raw food nutrition.
Because it isn’t cooked, I implore you to use the very best ingredients you can get your hands on. Ripe, in-season tomatoes are a must. If you’ve got a special olive you reserved for special occasions, call it in to action. We also had fresh garlic, cucumber, and peppers from the market, all of which went in.
Many of the gazpacho recipes I referred to when I was coming up with this one called for the cucumber to be peeled. Although I’m sure you’d get a more vibrant tomato colour if you did, I chose to leave the peel on my cucumber as so many valuable nutrients are in that layer.
If the colour is important to you, chose the ripest, reddest tomatoes you can find, peel your cucumber, and use a red pepper instead of green or yellow. To strain or not to strain also seemed to be an issue of frequent debate. Again, I chose not to because it would mean straining out valuable fiber and with it important nutrients. But the texture is up to you as well. If you want a velvety smooth gazpacho, by all means run it through a strainer before serving. If chunky is more your style, roughly pulse instead of blending your soup.
Tomato toe-mah-toe. However you like to say it, there’s no doubt that the sweet summer fruits are juicy little bombs of nutrition. Tomatoes are known for their antioxidant content, notably lycopene – good for your prostates, fellas! Eating tomatoes can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Other antioxidants include vitamin C, and beta carotene. As far as phytonutrients go, tomatoes are top of the charts. They contain flavonoids, carotenoids, and glycosides to name just a few. Eating tomatoes has been shown to be beneficial for the profile of fats in our bloodstream. Specifically, tomato intake has been linked to reduced total cholesterol, reduced LDL cholesterol, and reduced triglyceride levels. This makes our hearts happy! Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin K, copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E, and phosphorus.
Two years ago: White Bean Purée
- 6-7 very ripe medium-sized tomatoes
- ½ a long English cucumber, peeled if you like
- 1 red, yellow, or green pepper
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- ¼ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse all of the produce and cut into chunks. Place in the jar of a blender with the smashed garlic, olive oil, water, and vinegar.
- Pulse a few times to combine, then run for about 2 minutes until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the soup to a bowl or glass jar, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- When you're ready to serve, pour into bowls or small glasses. Drizzle a bit of good olive oil over the top, and serve.