Nothing compares to a fresh picked tomato, especially when it's organic and vine ripened. Very seldom will I purchase tomatoes off season from the grocery store. There is no comparison in flavor and most are picked green and artificially ripened. I would like to mention that although green tomatoes are not as nutritious as naturally ripened red, yellow, etc., they are delicious as a side dish. Fried green tomatoes are fabulous, healthier when fried in grapeseed oil, ghee, coconut oil.
Tomatoes are well known for their lycopene, which is most present when they are vine ripened. The best way to get lycopene, which is in the skin and gives red tomatoes their color, and is also present in yellow tomatoes, is by cooking or processing the tomato (sauce, juice, paste). The antioxidant properties of lycopene may protect our immune cells from destructive free radicals, therefore reducing our risk of illness.
The tomato offers much more than this; "It is said that there is no other known pharmacy that can cure as many things as the tomato." Not only are they therapeutic, but useful for health and beauty. Tomatoes contain vitamin C, which is concentrated in the jelly-like substance that encases the seeds, so best not to remove the seeds. Many recipes advise removing the seeds, but to conserve nutrients keep the seeds. Tomatoes contain vitamin K, which plays a key role in clotting blood and maintaining strong bones. Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin, hair, mucous membranes, bones and teeth. They are extremely diuretic, cleanse the body, help reduce cholesterol levels, prevent infections, eliminate uric acid (gout).
Beauty? It is believed that tomatoes protect the skin against ultraviolet lights. Tomatoes and tomato products enable your skin to take in oxygen, delaying aging and wrinkling. According to studies, lycopene contained in the tomatoes and tomato products is protective against the risk of skin cancer.
DO NOT REFRIGERATE unripened tomatoes. Refrigerating unripened tomatoes ruins them. For best results, store them at room temperature, stem-side down, ideally in a single layer, out of direct sunlight. Flavor development and coloration will not take place in the refrigerator, not to mention, the texture will change. They say that ripe tomatoes can keep in the refrigerator for around 4 days, and will need a day or two to sit at room temperature to restore flavor and texture, but I would not refrigerate them. If I have to consider "storing" my tomatoes, I wash, chop, and freeze in a freezer bag.
The first step is always washing your produce in a store bought solution specifically formulated for produce, or use a mixture of water and white vinegar. Tomatoes can be roasted, dehydrated, braised, sautéed, added to almost any cooked or raw dish. They can be sliced, diced, quartered....there's so much. Please click here for mouth watering recipes. Thanks for reading my blog.
Dawn Swope, CHHC, AADP