Greenfields Nutritional Educational Lecture Series: Tomatoes and Herbs

Author: Lisa Wenzel



At the latest nutrition and culinary presentation at Greenfields, we explored some key gardening ideas, ways to extend one’s harvest, nutritional principles, and some delicious recipes.  Presenting were Jocie Antonelli, Registered Dietitian, and Don Miller CEC, AAC, CCE, Notre Dame’s Executive Chef. 

The main theme revolved around growing and cooking with heirloom tomatoes.  Chef brought in a bounty of beautifully colored heirloom tomatoes from the campus garden.  He discussed growing tomatoes (and all vegetables) from seed.  One of the critical factors in growing healthy seedlings is to use a grow light and have that light situated about an inch above the plants.  As the plants grow, raise the light so it continues to be one inch above the tender plants.  This encourages the plants to have nice healthy and thick stalks instead of weak ones.  Then put the plants in the ground in May for a great harvest later on. 

Often our personal gardens can produce more than we can actually eat in the present time.  In order to continue to utilize our harvest well beyond the summer months, we discussed freezing and dehydrating homegrown fruits and vegetables.  From a nutritional standpoint, these are both terrific methods to preserving nutrients.  Also, from a sustainability standpoint, these methods are a great way to take advantage of other locally grown produce. 

Finally, we finished up with a tasting of three fabulous dishes:  heirloom tomato bruschetta grilled garden vegetables with herbs in pasta, and garden fresh mint ice cream.  The recipes are linked for your enjoyment.