Tomatoes are not only fruits but berries since they are formed from a single ovary. The tomato is a popular and versatile food that comes in over a thousand different varieties, shapes, sizes and colour. These range from small cherry tomatoes, bright yellow pear shaped to the green tomato.

Although tomatoes are fruits they are not sweet like dessert fruits. They have a subtle sweetness that is complemented by a slightly bitter and acidic taste.

Tomatoes used as food originated in Mexico and spread throughout the world following the Spanish colonization of the America’s.

Here are the names of 4 o the tomato varieties:

1.Beefsteak tomatoes – 4 inch diameter often used for sandwiches, burgers and similar applications.

  1. Plum tomatoes – lower water/higher solids content are normally used in tomato sauce, pastes, canning and various sauces. They are usually oblong in shape.
  2. Cherry tomatoes are smaller and round, sweet and normally used in salads and as garnish.
  3. Grape tomatoes are small and oblong in shape. Usually used in platters with dips and as garnish.

When in training to be a chef one of the jobs we had to do was to make tomato concasse everyday for the chef’s to use in sauces etc. They now sell it as Passatta.  All it was taking the ripest tomatoes but not soft cut a cross in the bottom of the tomato and plunge them into boiling water for 6 to 8 minutes.  Remove and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process. The tomato skin then comes away easily, cut open remove all the seeds with a teaspoon and chop finely.  Place in an airtight container or bowel to use used later.

It was a thankless task as by the time you were finished you had tomato juice all over your hand and down your arms. Your hands were quit raw after doing three boxes of tomatoes.

Now days with blenders you can get a smoother and finer tomato paste. It stored in sterilized jars in the fridge it should last a week or more. Once opened should be used fairly quickly.

MEDICAL FATS:

  1. Abundant source of antioxidants – Tomatoes contain large amounts of lycopene, an antioxidant that is highly effective in scavenging cancer causing free radicals.
  2. Rich Source of vitamins and miners – 1 tomato can supply 40% of the daily Vitamin C required. Tomatoes also contain Vitamin A, potassium and iron. Vitamin K which is essential in blood clotting and controls bleeding is also in abundance in tomatoes.
  3. reduces cholesterol and protects the heart.
  4. Counter the effect of cigarette some. Two main components of tomatoes, coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid, fight against nitrosamines which are produced in the body and are the main carcinogens found in cigarettes.
  5. Improves Vision. Vitamin A aids in improving vision as well as in preventing night blindness and macular degeneration.
  6. Lowers Hypertension. This is due to the potassium found in tomatoes.

To me tomatoes are a part of any meal weather in a stew, casserole, sauce or in a salad, but a raw tomato is the best in my mind.

So enjoy your tomatoes from now on Sliced tomatoes with raw onions. This is my favorite.

By Bernadette Longueira – 01/10/2016

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