If we think back in history, until the 19th century, the tomato was considered poisonous.
We know now tomatoes are good sources of potassium and vitamin C and A, while containing few calories (just 25 for a medium tomato). Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant compound that may play a role in protecting us from diseases, including cancer.
Here are a few tips to use and enjoy those nutrition and delicious tomatoes:
Storage: Tomatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place. Do not store them in a plastic bag. Store in a single layer, as stacking tomatoes may cause them to become mushy. Green tomatoes can be ripened by holding at room temperature, away from sunlight. To ripen more quickly, put them into a paper bag.
Preparation/cooking: To remove the seeds from a tomato, cut the tomato in half. Squeeze the tomato gently, or loosen seeds with a spoon and scoop them out. To chop or slice a tomato, remove the stem with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove the seeds, if you like, according to above instructions. Cut tomato into individual slices, or chop into small pieces.
Uses and tips: Tomatoes can be baked, broiled, roasted, boiled, or stewed, and may be used in a variety of dishes such as sauces, casseroles, salads, and side dishes. Fresh tomatoes are delicious eaten raw on top of salads or in sandwiches.
For a quick and easy sandwich, top slices of whole grain bread with sliced tomatoes, sprinkle with reduced fat cheese, and broil until the cheese melts. Stuff tomatoes with tuna salad or chicken salad and use the insides of the tomatoes to add nutrition to the salad.
Preserving tomatoes: Tomatoes are great for canning, freezing and even drying. Slicing varieties are good choices for making juice and crushed and whole tomato products. Paste tomatoes such as Roma are good for making sauce, ketchup, and purees.
Yellow tomatoes are not really any lower in acid than red; they contain more sugar and, therefore, have a sweeter taste. They are excellent for preserving as well.
Check out our website for current information on preserving tomatoes: https://food.unl.edu/canning-freezing-and-drying
Summer Vegetable Salsa
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 medium white onion
- 3 Roma tomatoes
- 1 jalapeño pepper (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1/4 cup lime juice
Rinse all vegetables and herbs under cool running water before cutting or eating.
Dice zucchini, onion and tomatoes into small pieces and put into medium bowl.
Remove the seeds and mince the jalapeño, careful not to burn your skin. Mince the garlic. Add jalapeño and garlic to tomato mixture.
Add cilantro, salt and lime juice to the tomato mixture. Stir well.
Chill in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 25 calories 25, 0 g total fat, 198 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber.