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Tomatoes

Tomatoes are nightshade vegetables. Nightshades are a family of flowering plants that range from annual to perennial herbs. Other members of the family include bell peppers, eggplant, and white potatoes. Cultivation often depends on use and destination, weather sold fresh or into processing.

Tomatoes originated in the South American Andes around the area of what is known today as Peru. It was among the first kinds of foods used by the ancient civilization, the Aztecs in Southern Mexico. Since then tomato varieties have split into two main groups, determinative and indeterminate, with 3,000 different cultivated heirloom tomatoes and over 15,000 others.

Determinates: also known a ‘bush types’, bare full crops at once and finish growing at a fixed mature size. They usually finish their fruiting process within two weeks and start to diminish soon after and will produce little to no more fruit.

Indeterminates: also referred to as ‘vining tomatoes’, unlike determinates tomatoes, these continue to produce fruit and grow throughout the season, until killed off by frost. They provide a slow steady supply of tomatoes. These are mostly preferred by both commercial and domestic growers.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Solanales
  • Family: Solanaceae
  • Genus: Solanum
  • Species: S. Iycopersicum
  • Binomial name: Solanum iycopersicum

Tomato Buying Guide

When buying tomatoes try to settle for loose ones rather than packaged ones. Not only does this cut down plastic usage, but loose tomatoes are often much easier to evaluate.

Look for plump, heavy tomatoes that are firm to the touch. Look for smooth skin free from any bruises, blemishes or deep cracks and make sure leaves and stems are green.

When buying tomatoes think about timing. Don’t buy fully ripe tomatoes unless you plan to use them that day or perhaps the following. Fully ripened tomatoes will be very fragrant, even green ones should have a mild fragrance that promises future ripeness, If they have no scent at all, they were likely picked at an immature stage, therefore, will never ripen.

You will see, feel and taste a clear difference when buying locally sourced tomatoes at farmers’ markets. A year-round demand for tomatoes has pushed producers, growers, and breeders to develop tomatoes with thicker skin that are hardier and can withstand more extreme conditions such as cold weather and long shipping distance. Sadly, this development does not benefit the taste or nutrition, because of this, supermarket tomatoes are often poor competition to locally grown produce.

Tomato Production & Farming in Texas

Tomatoes are some of the most versatile and adaptable veggies on the market. They are used in sauces, as sauces, as garnishes, in salads, on sandwiches, whatever dish or cooking method you use tomatoes can be factored in.

Storage:

Storing ripe tomatoes in the fridge will undoubtedly leave you with a dull tomato. From taste to texture and everything in between. It is best to keep them at room temperature away from direct sunlight. But different levels of ripeness require different specifications.

  • Green Tomatoes: Should be stored stem side down in a paper bag or cardboard box in a cool area until they turn red.
  • Ripe tomatoes: Should be kept at room temperature away from sunlight. Stem side down and not touching each other. They should be consumed within a few days.
  • Over-ripe tomatoes: Tomatoes that are soft to the touch should be stored int eh fridge to prevent further ripening. Remove from the fridge prior to handling so the fruit redevelops its flavor.

Cooking:

Unlike many vegetables, tomatoes become healthier after cook. This is due mainly to the increase in lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color.

When cooking tomatoes never use aluminum utensils. The acidity does not do well with the metal. Not only does cooking them in aluminum make them bitter and faded, but it also pits and discolors the cookware. Tomatoes are also cut best by a serrated knife. The sharp teeth breakthrough skin easier and cleaner.

If you make a recipe that requires a lot of tomatoes, try incorporating some of these ingredients:

  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Chilli
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Onions

Nutrition:

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that promotes heart health and helps prevent certain cancers. During cooking the amount of lycopene release increases making it one of the few vegetables that become healthier after a cook. Vitamin A & C, calcium and potassium are also highly present.

Tomatoes are 95% water. Carbs and fiber make up the majority of the rest:

Carbs: Carbs make up 4% of raw tomatoes. 70% of these carbs consist of simple sugars like fructose and glucose. Carbs are converted into energy for our bodies.

Fiber: 1.5g of fiber per average size tomato isn’t bad. 87% of tomato fibers are soluble mostly in the form of hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin. Fiber is important for digestive function.

Vitamin C: An essential nutrient and antioxidant. One medium-sized tomato provides us with approximately28% of our recommended daily intake.

Vitamin K: An important nutrient for blood clotting and bone health.

Potassium: An essential mineral beneficial for blood pressure control and heartyh disease.

Eating Tomatoes

Tomatoes are some of the most versatile and adaptable veggies on the market. They are used in sauces, as sauces, as garnishes, in salads, on sandwiches, whatever dish or cooking method you use tomatoes can be factored in.

Storage:

Storing ripe tomatoes in the fridge will undoubtedly leave you with a dull tomato. From taste to texture and everything in between. It is best to keep them at room temperature away from direct sunlight. But different levels of ripeness require different specifications.

  • Green Tomatoes: Should be stored stem side down in a paper bag or cardboard box in a cool area until they turn red.
  • Ripe tomatoes: Should be kept at room temperature away from sunlight. Stem side down and not touching each other. They should be consumed within a few days.
  • Over-ripe tomatoes: Tomatoes that are soft to the touch should be stored int eh fridge to prevent further ripening. Remove from the fridge prior to handling so the fruit redevelops its flavor.

Cooking:

Unlike many vegetables, tomatoes become healthier after cook. This is due mainly to the increase in lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color.

When cooking tomatoes never use aluminum utensils. The acidity does not do well with the metal. Not only does cooking them in aluminum make them bitter and faded, but it also pits and discolors the cookware. Tomatoes are also cut best by a serrated knife. The sharp teeth breakthrough skin easier and cleaner.

If you make a recipe that requires a lot of tomatoes, try incorporating some of these ingredients:

  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Chilli
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Onions

Nutrition:

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that promotes heart health and helps prevent certain cancers. During cooking the amount of lycopene release increases making it one of the few vegetables that become healthier after a cook. Vitamin A & C, calcium and potassium are also highly present.

Tomatoes are 95% water. Carbs and fiber make up the majority of the rest:

87% of tomato fibers are soluble mostly in the form of hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin. Fiber is important for digestive function.

Vitamin C: An essential nutrient and antioxidant. One medium-sized tomato provides us with approximately28% of our recommended daily intake.

Vitamin K: An important nutrient for blood clotting and bone health.

Potassium: An essential mineral beneficial for blood pressure control and heart disease prevention.

Folate(B9): One of the b vitamins responsible for normal tissue growth and cell function.

Beta-carotene: An orang/yellow pigment that supports bad eyesight that converts to vitamin a in the body.

Naringenin: A flavorless, colorless flavonoid found in tomato skin. It has been shown to decrease inflammation and protect against certain diseases in mice.

Chlorogenic acid: A [powerful antioxidant that helps to manage blood pressure in people who have elevated blood pressure.

Lycopene: A red pigment and antioxidant found in the highest concentration in the skin, the redder the tomato, the more lycopene it contains. Extensively researched for its health benefits such as sun protection and prevention of certain cancers. Tomato products tend to have a far hight lycopene content than raw tomatoes. For example, tomato ketchup has between 10 and 14 milligrams of lycopene per 100g, where fresh tomatoes have between 1 and 8 milligrams. Keeping in mind, people usually only use a small amount of ketchup with a dish, so the best way to get more of it in your diet is likely eating them fresh.

Other foods in your diet may have a strong effect on lycopene absorption. Consuming this plant compound with a source of fat can increase absorption by up to four times

When Are Tomatoes in Season in Texas?

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 43.2 2%
  • Carbs: 9.6g 3%
  • Sugar: 6g 0
  • Fiber: 1.7g 7%
  • Protein: 2.3g 5%
  • Fat: 0.3g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 593mg 25%
  • Vitamin C 54.7mg 91%
  • Vitamin A 1174IU 23%
  • Calcium 26.4mg 3%
  • Iron 1.6mg 9%
  • Potassium 523mg 15%
  • Vitamin B6 0.2mg 9%
  • Folate 31.2mcg 8%
  • Vitamin E 1.3mg 7%
  • Vitamin K 6.7mcg 8%
  • Magnesium 21.6mg 5%
  • Phosphorus 67.2mg 7%
  • Manganese 0.3mg 13%
  • Copper 0.2mg 9%
  • Zinc 0.3mg 2%

Seasonality

When are apples in season in Texas?

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

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Tasty Recipes Using Tomatoes