Tomatoes, like art, come in hundreds of beautiful varieties. They are versatile in cooking and highly nutritious.
Tomatoes can ripen on the vine but can also be picked a few days before they are perfectly ripe and ripen indoors at room temperature.
Tomatoes grown for retail are picked before they ripen so they can be transported to market without being bruised.
Green tomatoes can be harvested and they will ripen even without the sun. Clean and dry them, wrap in newspaper and set in a warm or cool dry place. Check frequently, removing any spoiled ones immediately. A banana or apple added to a bag of green tomatoes will speed up the ripening process.
Challenge yourself to go outside the store and find varieties grown in season and close to home for the best flavors.
Avoid storing in the refrigerator as they prefer to be warm. Set them on a counter; if they begin to attract fruit flies or crack, then resort to refrigeration.
No need to remove the skins, they are delicious. If they are grown in climates where the nights are cool, the skins may be tough; this is when peeling them would be the best option.
Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, vitamins C and K, fiber, carotene and biotin. Lycopene is the star nutritional component known for its protection against various cancers, risk of heart disease and eye disease. It is beneficial raw or cooked and the addition of its yummy friend olive oil helps increase the body’s ability to absorb the lycopene.
- Tomato paste is a wonderful nutrient dense food and very convenient.
- Tomato sauce has five times the lycopene as a fresh tomato.
- Lycopene develops as tomatoes ripen on the vine.
- Tomato sauce has 23mg lycopene per 1/2 cup.