Tomatoes: 10 facts for for a familiar fruit

From Canton Daily Ledger
Canton, IL –
Tomatoes are one of the most popular and versatile fruits of the summer season. Here are some facts and tips related to tomatoes — from preparation to presentation.

1. If your tomato sauce is too acidic, add some grated carrot. It disintegrates in the sauce and adds sweetness but no hint of carrot flavor.

2. Fragrance is a better indicator of a good tomato than color. Smell the stem end; it should have the garden aroma of the plant itself. If it doesn’t, your tomato will lack flavor.

3. Select tomatoes that are firm, glossy, smooth, plump, heavy for their size and free of bruises. Avoid tomatoes that are overly ripe and soft.

4. The easiest way to crush tomatoes? Use your hands. Your kids will love pitching in.

5 The high acid content of tomatoes will slow the cooking process of some other food. Beans cooked with tomatoes, for example, may take up to 20 percent longer to cook.

6. A good serrated knife is far superior to a flat-edged knife for slicing tomatoes. If you use a flat-edged knife, be sure it is very sharp or you will bruise the tomato flesh.

7. Never refrigerate fresh tomatoes. Cold temperatures can make the flesh of a tomato pulpy and destroy the flavor. Always store tomatoes at room temperature, stem-end down.

8. Canned tomatoes have higher concentrations of lycopene than fresh tomatoes. And orange tomatoes have a type of lycopene that is absorbed better than the kind in red tomatoes—2 1/2 times better.

9. One large (6 1/2-ounce) tomato contains 33 calories, zero grams fat, 2 grams protein, 2 grams fiber and one-third of the daily recommendation for vitamin C.

10. Tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable, and they were once thought to be poisonous. When Spanish explorer Cortez brought seeds back to Europe in 1519, tomatoes were grown as ornamentals, but not eaten.

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