“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”
I’m a tomato fan. Like I could eat tomatoes with and for every single meal. My daughter even draws pictures of me with tomatoes. My favorite lunch will always be a big Greek Salad and a sparkling water.
Tip: Never EVER put tomatoes in the refrigerator. It kills their taste. Keep tomatoes out of the fridge or they’ll lose some of their taste. Scientists have figured out why: It’s because some of their genes chill out and are altered by cold temperatures, ultimately affecting the flavor.
The tomato is a popular item in many cuisines around the world. Tomatoes are actually berries, from the Solanum lycopersicum plant. The species originated in Central America but now it’s a favorite all over the world. Tomatoes taste amazing and are widely recommended for the many health benefits.
Tomatoes are fruits which are commonly thought of as vegetables. They contain vitamins A, C, K and some of the B group, minerals like folate, potassium and phosphorus, antioxidants like lycopene and beta carotene, and dietary fiber. As a result, they have many health benefits.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Like the apple, a tomato a day can prevent and alleviate many health conditions.
Antioxidant phytonutrients in tomatoes have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, and neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals that cause cellular damage and cancer. Lycopene also prevents heart diseases. Moreover, it acts as a natural and internal sun screen and prevents premature aging.
Tomatoes control cholesterol and raise levels of good HDL cholesterol, thus preventing cardiac problems.
They also lower blood pressure.
Tomato juice strengthens eyesight and increases levels of hemoglobin. Therefore, it helps to cure anemia.
The vitamin C prevents and cures scurvy, raises immunity, and prevents colds and flu.
Tomato soup in particular is good for the stomach, as it helps in digestion and increases the alkalinity of the blood. Moreover, tomatoes clear toxins by stimulating the kidneys. The soup can be given even during an illness, as it is full of nutrition and supplies instant energy.
Culinary Uses of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are used in different forms. Tomato juice and tomato soup are popular, while pureed tomato is a common ingredient for curries and gravies, particularly in Indian recipes of vegetables and lentils. Its tangy flavor adds richness and taste to any dish. Tomatoes are used in both fruit and vegetable salads. It should be remembered that the antioxidant properties of tomatoes are enhanced when they are combined with broccoli.
Tomatoes are probably most commonly used to make sauces. The curative properties are increased when they are combined with olive oil, so they are used in pasta sauces.
Cosmetic Uses of Tomatoes
The tomato is a natural astringent, so peels, masks and scrubs made from it help to tighten the skin. Tomato pulp mixed with oatmeal or gram flour is used as a scrub to remove dead cells and lighten the skin tone. It is used to clear blemishes and pigmentation in oily skin, and as a mask for dry skin.
Tomatoes are healthy and tasty, and have a number of benefits and uses. They prevent cardiac problems and blood pressure, boost immunity and neutralize harmful free radicals. The tomato is an important ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, which is considered one of the healthiest in the world.
Tip: Lycopene in tomatoes is better absorbed when they are heated, so tomato sauce/ketchup or paste is better than raw tomatoes. Tomato juice should be consumed quickly, as it oxidizes rapidly in the air and the vitamin C is lost. However, the vitamin C is not lost when tomatoes are heated.
Normally I do a few beautiful recipes for tomatoes after I talk about the health benefits of tomatoes, but you guys have Pinterest. My favorite is a simple Greek or Caprese salad. I’m pretty excited for spring gardening, so I’m skipping recipes today and I’m going to give you Tomato Gardening Tips because you can easily grow tomatoes in your garden or on your patio this year.
Growing up in Texas, I remember all of my neighbors had tomato plants. They saved the seeds and planted them every single year. Tomatoes are fun and easy to grow. I’m actually already sowing tomato seeds for our garden this year.
When growing tomato plants in an organic garden one must consider preparing the soil, planting tomato seedlings, tomato cages, and tomato fertilizer.
Homegrown tomatoes are a favorite of most organic vegetable gardens in the summer. With minimal care, six tomato plants will yield enough fruits for eating and canning all summer.
Planting Tomato Seedlings
Tomato seedlings are ready to go into the ground when they have five to seven leaves. Tomato plants thrive in well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0. If the soil is too alkaline, lower the pH with plenty of fresh organic matter, especially compost.
Top with a 3-inch layer of organic mulch to control soil moisture, which reduces blossom end rot. Some gardeners swear by red mulch to increase yields, but plastic does nothing to enrich the soil. Waiting until nighttime temperatures are at least 60 degrees and placing plants where they receive six to eight hours of full sun is just as important as mulch color.
Every hardware store and garden center sells tomato cages that consist of two or three metal rings held together by several vertical strands of wire. These must sell like hotcakes to new gardeners, but seasoned gardeners realize a mature vine and a stiff breeze render these supports useless.
Too many tomatoes laden with fruit need a hefty support system. Gardeners can make a worthy tomato cage with 5-foot sections of concrete reinforcing wire secured to rebar. Those who don’t like to make tomato cages should shop for heavy duty systems made from galvanized steel that fold for storage.
Tomatoes in Vegetable Container Gardens
Growing tomatoes in the container garden is a hot gardening trend, and horticulturists are responding to this demand by developing hybrids designed for pot culture. Don’t assume that small fruited varieties are automatically suited to containers, as some cherry tomatoes grow on large indeterminate vines.
Organic gardeners should care for tomatoes in containers as they would for tomatoes in the ground. Container garden tomatoes can succumb to blossom end rot if the containers aren’t kept evenly moist, as this denies calcium from reaching the leaf tips and blossom ends. Discourage blossom end rot with a regular watering routine, and by adding eggshells to the watering can.
Hanging Tomato Plants
Gardeners who like the ease of a container garden but who want to grow large, indeterminate vines may grow upside down tomato plants. By filling an ordinary 5-gallon bucket with a mix of compost and soil, cutting a hole in the bottom for the plant to grow from, and suspending the bucket from chains on a sturdy support, gardeners can bypass all weeds and many pests.
Tomato plants are heavy feeders with specific nutrient needs. An organic 5-6-5 tomato fertilizer with ample phosphorus encourages the development of large fruits, rather than excessive leaves from too much nitrogen. Applying liquid seaweed twice a month when flowers appear will keep plants stocky and productive throughout the growing season.
I know this sounds like alot of information, but I promise tomatoes are so fun to grow.
For more information on Tomatoes, I love the Tomatoes 101 article by Healthline. Recommended: Comparing the best milk substitutes for your family by me.