This piece of produce is really part of the berry family. This canine has learned the art of berry balancing.
Tomatoes were originally believed to be poisonous. They are members of the toxic nightshade family. Other kinsfolk are tobacco, potato, eggplant, pepper and the morning-glory.
Belladonna is another member of the same family. This flower also contains atropine which is quite deadly. It was used as a poison in the past to kill enemies. Medically, dilute solutions are used for motion sickness, eye surgery and even to help in combating drug addiction. Hundreds of years ago, women would use it to dilate their pupils therefore becoming “prettier.” It would supposedly cause arousal in a nearby male. In fact, belladonna means pretty flower.
Now back to our regularly scheduled tomato story.
This piece of ripe red sweet produce is loaded with copper, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. In fact, compared to any other food, the tomato has one of the highest amounts of potassium. Potassium is responsible for acting to neutralize the blood pressure raising effects of sodium.
Another bonus is the amount of fiber contained in one cup of raw tomato which is 2.2 grams. Then we go over to the scoreboard with listed protective antioxidants like beta-carotene (pro-Vitamin A), quercetin, kaempferol and lycopene. These hard pronouncing names are protective waters that put out the various fires started by mutated cells throughout the body. Mutated cells, if left alone, will continue an accelerated burn resulting ultimately in prostrate and breast cancers.
To get the most benefit from tomato’s nutrients, combine the diced pieces with heat. This collapses the cells walls allowing its precious components to leak out for better availability for your body. Better yet, saute in olive oil (or any healthy oil) for even better absorption into the digestive tract. Think tomato sauce and tomato paste for a great way to get all the nutrition that tomatoes have to offer our health.
Since tomatoes are at their peak from July thru September, look to purchase at your local Farmers Market. This way you patronize local business. In addition, the prices are lower and quality of ripeness is optimum. Off season, focus on sauces (made with pure virgin olive oil), tomato paste and tomato juice to fill in the other nine months.
Storage of the tomato is best in a low light, cool place. Keep out of the refrigerator. Although chilling increases the life of the tomato, the fruit starts breaking down giving a product off-flavors.
You can always purchase multiple pounds at season’s end and make homemade tomato sauce for canning. Here you can enjoy the ripeness of that delicious tomato all year round.
One can also enjoy the amazing taste of this phenomenal piece of produce via your bartender within a “Bloody Mary.” You don’t have to partake of the alcohol component. Just request a virgin.
Photo credit: eVo photo / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: nao-cha / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: tanakawho / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)