Monday, July 23, 2012

Why Oven Roast Tomatoes?

After reading my very detailed instructions on oven-roasting tomatoes, one of my friends didn't get it.
Can't you just cook and eat them? Do they have to get all shriveled up and dried out? Doesn't cooking this long rob tomatoes of their nutritional value?

All very good questions. But given that line of thought, why cook vegetables at all? The fact is, the vegetable you eat may have less nutritional value than you think.
A broccoli today is worth more than a broccoli tomorrow.   Vegetables have a set amount of nutrients when harvested and begin to lose them the minute they are cut off from their food source  Once harvested, they begin to consume their own nutrients in order to stay alive. This decline is hastened by the things we do to them.

Simply, the farther and longer from field to fork, the less nutrition.

Does this make oven-roasting tomatoes fruitless?

Quite the opposite.
According to an article in Scientific American exploring Fact or Fiction: Are raw veggies healthier than cooked ones,  many  vegetables supply more antioxidants to the body when cooked - carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, peppers among them.

Tomatoes, in particular benefit.

According to a 2002 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, cooking tomatoes actually enhances their nutritional benefit by breaking down the fruit's thick cell walls.

This aids the body's uptake of some nutrients that are bound to those cell walls, particularly lycopene, the red pigment associated with a lower risk of cancer and heart attacks.

So not only does oven roasting tomatoes intensify and preserve the flavor for a later time when tomato season ends, it's also heart smart.

Why do you roast tomatoes?

I'd love to hear why and how you use them.

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