Tomatoes are in the nightshade family and contain many varieties such as cherry, Roma, green, yellow, heirloom and beefsteak. They are categorized as a fruit, not a vegetable, but have a slightly sweet and acidic taste. In mid-Missouri, tomatoes should be planted from mid-April to mid-May and harvested from July through October.
- Rich in antioxidants that protect from oxidative cell damage and stress, increase enzyme function, and can protect skin from UV damage.
- Cardiovascular health: Antioxidants found in vitamins C & E help the heart to circulate oxygen throughout the body.
- Phytonutrients prevent blood platelet coagulation. Lycopene prevents lipids found in cell membranes or circulating in the bloodstream to be oxidized or damaged (called lipid peroxidation).
- Decrease some cancer risks: primarily for prostate, lung, pancreatic, and breast cancer.
- Some studies have linked diets containing tomatoes with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and obesity.
SELECTION & STORAGE
- Select tomatoes that are ripe, colorful, and do not have dents, bruising, or holes.
- Try to buy organic, as tomatoes are usually covered in pesticides. Always wash well before use.
- Ripe tomatoes ready for use should be stored out of direct sunlight an in room temperature.
- Tomatoes that are ripe but not used that same day, place in the door in the refrigerator to keep from further ripening for up to two days.
How to Use
- In pasta sauces like marinara and bolognese
- In dips like guacamole, salsa, and pico de gallo or used as bruschetta
- In salads, soups, sandwiches, and wraps
- Stuffed with quinoa, brown rice, ground meats, and vegetables
- Baked into tomato pies, tarts, galettes, or shakshuka
- In dishes like omelettes, and baked along side chicken breasts or fillets of fish