Two of the Season's Best Vegetables to Put in Your Cart
They may be available most of the year, but come August, corn and tomatoes are at their peak in flavor and nutrition. Get in on some of summer's best offerings while the getting is good (seriously good).
Health benefits: Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and carotenes including beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients help protect cells from being damaged and help fight inflammation in the body. Tomatoes also contain heart-helping potassium and magnesium and bone-strengthening vitamin K.
Picking the perfect tomato: Look for tomatoes rich in color. They should have a smooth skin, mild fragrance and yield slightly to touch. Choose tomatoes that feel heavy for their size.
Storage: Store tomatoes at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Unless already sliced, avoid refrigerating tomatoes as it greatly reduces their flavor.
Health benefits: Corn is a good source of folate and vitamin C, both beneficial for heart health. It also contains sterols, which can lower blood cholesterol. Corn is home to several phytonutrients including lutein for eyesight, beta-cryptoxanthin for healthy lungs and saponins which help lower blood sugar and protect cells from damage.
Picking the perfect cob: Husks should look fresh and green with no drying; the silk should be moist. Kernels should be plump and arranged in tight rows.
Storage: Refrigerate corn in its husks to keep moisture in the kernels. Store in a plastic bag wrapped tightly around the cobs. Use within 2-3 days of purchase.
Cooking tips: Corn loses its flavor and some of its nutrients if it's overcooked. Boil cobs for 5-7 minutes. Try steaming corn or grilling it in its husk. Brush with olive oil or squeeze lime over the hot cobs for a burst of great flavor. Raw corn is also delicious. Cut kernels off the cob by standing the corn on end, placing it in a wide bowl and using a sharp knife to cut/shave the kernels away from the cob. Add kernels to your favorite salads, salsas, chilled soups, etc.
Two of Our All-Time Favorite Corn Techniques:
Contributed by Sue Moores, M.S., R.D., Kowalski's Nutritionist.