There is no time like the present to take advantage of the last of summer’s produce within the next couple of weeks. Pick up some crispy cucumbers and juicy flavorful heirloom tomatoes before fall. Tomatoes and cucumbers taste great raw, and make a great back-to-school healthy snack to start your year off on the right foot.
**All About Tomatoes & Cucumbers**
In Season: Tomatoes and Cucumbers
When To Buy: Right now! The season is winding down for these summer vegetables, so enjoy them while they’re ripe. Tomatoes and cucumbers peak in August in the New York area. They’re also available year-round in the supermarket, but head to the farmer’s market to sample the beautiful, multi-colored heirloom varieties that are not always available. Try different types of cukes as well, such as the small Persian ones which are perfect snack size.
Prep and Storage: Cucumbers and tomatoes are easy to prepare, but are also enjoyable just plain raw. Usually tomato skin is left on, but for some cucumber preparations the skin is removed with a vegetable peeler. When preparing large tomatoes, the stem and core are always removed. I like to cut the tomato in half length-wise, and then carefully carve out the core. I find using a serrated bread knife is easier to cut tomatoes than regular knives. To save the last of summer through the winter, cucumbers can be pickled, and tomatoes can be made into jarred tomato sauce. For longer shelf life, cucumbers and vegetables can be refrigerated, however, refrigeration is not necessary. (In fact, tomatoes should not be refrigerated or they will lose their flavor).
How to Cook: To savor the last ripened taste of cucumbers and tomatoes until next summer, I recommend eating these vegetables raw or with minimal preparation. For a tasty back-to-school sandwich, try slicing tomatoes and cucumbers on toasted foccacia bread with a garlic-parsley butter, and a slice of cheese such as havarti or swiss. Or make a simple Greek salad with feta cheese, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil, and lemon juice.
Recipe box: Check out some more great cucumber and tomato pairings below!