It is no surprise that I have finally decided to write about one of my all time favorite foods; tomatoes. When I was younger my mom grew tomatoes in her side yard and I would go pick them and eat them just like apples with a little bit of salt. I remember one day eating 7 in a row right off the vine. I recently planted five tomato plants and my move from SF to Hercules killed all five. So maybe soon I will try again to grow some more. So I thought that we all have heard so much about tomatoes, so why not really find out what makes them so special and good for us!
So as usual I have used one of my favorite books:
Tomatoes come from the solanaceae family which also includes eggplant, peppers and potatoes. The tomato is actually a fruit contrary to popular belief and its position in the grocery store as a "vegetable." Despite Spain being widely known for its tomato culinary expertise, Mexico is where the first tomatoes were actually cultivated. The Spanish explorers brought tomato seeds to Spain in the 16th century. For many years they were considered poisonous. It wasn't until the 19th century that tomatoes actually grew in popularity. This popularity was due to Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson, who brought the seeds to New Jersey and on September 26, 1980 he ate an entire basket of them in order to prove that they were not deadly. Over 2,000 townsfolk showed up for the affair, expecting a suicide. That obviously was not the case.
Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C, Potassium, beta-carotene and LYCOPENE. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant, it is especially unique because it
becomes more potent when cooked . Therefore the very
best way to eat tomatoes (for optimal nutrition) is cooked in a little olive oil &/or as marinara sauce.
http://cdn.sheknows.com/articles/homemade-tomato-sauce.jpgLycopene is a very strong red pigmented, antioxidant (fights cancer). Lycopene may help cut risk by inhibiting the growth and replication of cancer cells. Research suggests that lycopene may shift the balance of male hormones which fuel prostate cancer. It may also stop cancer before it starts by protecting genes from damage caused by free radicals. Researchers in Italy found that people who ate seven or more servings of fresh, uncooked tomatoes a week had a 60% lower chance of developing stomach, colon, ore real cancers than persons who ate less than two servings.
http://www.studiolounge.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/fine-tomato-bw.jpgSome home remedies include: drinking tomato juice, and taking a bath in it, have been advocated for eczema and other skin disorders. Some find gargling tomato juice 3-4 times a day provides relief from mouth ulcers. A concoction of two teaspoons of tomato juice and 1/4 buttermilk, applied to burned areas and left on for about a 1/2 hour then rinse, provides relief.