Lordy Lordy I’m getting buried in tomatoes!
Tomatoes are bursting with goodness – nutritional as well as taste.
The red color has a special meaning healthwise. It signals the presence of lycopene, a carotene different than beta carotene that is associated with dark green and orange vegetables.
Studies show that tomato’s lycopene carries the protective factor against some cancers.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C.
Studies have found postmenopausal women that cut down on fat and increase their consumption of vitamin C foods may have a lower risk for breast cancer.
Chock-full of potassium, tomatoes protect against strokes and heart disease.
So here are some fun facts about tomatoes:
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans eat between 22- 24 pounds of tomatoes per person, per year. (More than half of those munchies are ketchup and tomato sauce.)
The tomato is America’s fourth most popular fresh-market vegetable behind potatoes, lettuce, and onions.
Americans have increased their tomato consumption 30% over the last 20 years (mostly in processed forms such as sauce, paste, and salsa).
While tomatoes are perfectly safe and healthy to eat, their leaves are actually toxic!
As of 2007, Americans spend more on salsa than ketchup.
93% of American gardening households grow tomatoes.
The largest worldwide producer of tomatoes is China, followed by USA, Turkey, India and Egypt.
California produces 96% of the tomatoes processed in the U.S.
Florida is the number one producer of fresh market tomatoes (except in 2008).
The heaviest tomato on record weighed in at 3.51 kg (7 pounds 12 ounces) and was grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986. Gordon sliced the tomato to make sandwiches for 21 family members.
The largest tomato plant (a “Sungold” variety), recorded in 2000, reached 19.8 meters (65 feet) in length and was grown by Nutriculture Ltd. of Mawdesley, Lancashire, UK.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest tomato tree grows at Walt Disney World Resort’s experimental greenhouse and yields a harvest of more than 32,000 tomatoes and weighs 1,151.84 pounds (522 kg). The plant was discovered in Beijing, China, by Yong Huang, Epcot’s manager of agricultural science, who took its seeds and grew them in the experimental greenhouse. Today, the plant produces thousands of golf ball-sized tomatoes that are served at Walt Disney World’s restaurants, and can be seen by tourists riding the “Living With the Land” boat ride at the Epcot Center.
So whether you like them raw in salads, on a sandwich or love them in sauce, salsa or ketchup, tomatoes are a great source of healthy nutrients.
So here is a quick and easy recipe to use some of those late summer tomatoes.
Tomato and Caper Salad
2 pounds red tomatoes—peeled, halved, seeded and finely diced (about 3 cups)
2 small celery ribs, finely diced (1/4 cup)
1 small red onion, finely diced (1/2 cup)
1 small green bell pepper—peeled, cored, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon peel
2 tablespoons capers
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the celery, onion, green bell pepper, preserved lemon peel and capers.
Add the olive oil and lemon juice and toss again. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
You Deserve to be Healthy!