Whether you use tomatoes for salads, pasta sauce, or soup, I have a feeling you eat them and enjoy them. They are common in most cultures around the world, and have a huge range of uses and recipes as a result.
Random tomato story – When tomatoes were first brought to Europe, people thought they were poisonous and would not eat them. It took some brave souls to try the first ones out, but the risk paid off!
The rest of this post will teach you how to buy, store, and use tomatoes, give the nutritional breakdown, and explain lycopene and ethylene. Yay tomatoes!!
How to Buy, Store, and Prepare Tomatoes
How to Buy
When buying canned tomatoes, check to make sure there is no added sugar and salt (or as little added salt as possible.) It is also good to find out if the can is BPA free, especially with tomatoes. They are acidic and BPA migration can be higher in acidic foods compared to others.
How to Store
It is also easy to freeze tomatoes if you find that you’re drowning in them. Just cut them to a usable size, lay them out on a cookie sheet, and place in the freezer. When they are frozen, put them in a storage container and put back in the freezer. Thawed tomatoes are great for sauces and stir fries.
Tomatoes from the garden – I usually have a lot of tomatoes that haven’t ripened by the time the first frost hits, and I have found that putting all the little green ones in a box and then storing with no lid in the cold room keeps them edible for a long time. The problem I have with this method is that I have been known to forget about them and some get a little soggy. Oops!
How to Prepare
You can also bake tomatoes, put them in a stir fry, bread and fry them, or create your own ketchup or salsa.
Check out these tomato recipes to get you out of your tomato comfort zone!
Why Do Store-Bought Tomatoes Never Taste As Good?
This is because of the way tomatoes are picked, shipped, and sold. When they are grown conventionally, tomatoes are picked green and immature. To have the tomatoes turn that beautiful red-orange colour by the time we see them on the shelves, ethylene gas is used to ripen them. This extends the life of the fruit considerably, but we are left with the flavour of an immature tomato.
(Note- ethylene is a natural hormone that tomatoes give off as it ripens, although the stuff that is sprayed is not natural.)
- 95% water
- 5% fiber and carbohydrates
In 1 cup of tomato you will get about 1.6g protein, 7g carbohydrates, and 0.4g fat. These are the macronutrients that keep us alive, give us energy, and make us strong among many other things. Of the carbohydrates, 70% is simple sugars and the remaining is fiber. In the end, tomatoes are a good source of fiber and are low in carbohydrates.
Whole foods are the best choice for healthy eating because of this – nature knows what we need because our bodies are a part of it. Everything in the tomato works together to make each vitamin and mineral more useful in our body.
It is an antioxidant which means that it is able to reduce free radicals in the body and the damage they can cause. This is particularly useful for the cardiovascular system, certain cancers, and aging.
Lycopene is seen to have higher bioavailability when cooked or processed than in raw tomatoes, but it is still recommended to eat them raw for other benefits. Eating tomatoes with a source of fat will also increase absorption because lycopene is fat soluble.
Adding more whole foods into your diet is a sure way to get the health and vibrancy you have always dreamt of having! There is no better day to start than this one.
Yours in plant love,
Nutrition, Authority. authoritynutrition.com/foods. n.d. 27 March 2017.
Nutrition, Precision. precisionnutrition.com/encylopedia. n.d. 27 March 2017.