I love tomatoes. There’s nothing like a fresh, juicy tomato on a hot summer’s day. The flavor is so intense in home-grown tomatoes. I haven’t had good luck with buying them from the grocery store. I end up with pink-ish, bland things that are a poor excuse for a tomato, in my opinion!
Garden tomatoes have been a favorite of mine since I was a child. I lived next door to my grandma (my mom’s mom) and she had a garden every year. Some of my fondest memories are traipsing out to her back yard and gathering everything from fresh okra to collard and mustard greens to new potatoes and green beans to big old juicy tomatoes.
The best part was when we got all our goods back inside and grandma began transforming her home-grown produce into a delicious meal. I was always fascinated how she could throw this and that here and there and come out with delicious, healthy meals that have never, ever left my memory.
My grandma passed away in 2001 but I know if she’s watching from somewhere that she was SO proud of me today when I stepped into my yard and plucked a gorgeous heirloom beefsteak tomato off the vine!
Of course, I can’t leave my papa (my dad’s dad) out of this tomato talk. He passed on in 2000, but while here he grew a really impressive HUGE garden (the majority of his backyard!) every year and he was well-known for his green thumb. He was never without giant, juicy tomatoes and an abundance of other fresh produce – from blackberries to peaches and okra to peppers.
(Photo of heirloom beefsteak tomato I picked off my vine today!)
Not only are tomatoes delicious and fun to eat – they’re very good for us. And that is excellent information, especially considering I could eat – – my weight in tomatoes. Yum!
I love discovering the health benefits of the foods and drinks I put into my body. This handy chart from Whole Foods is RAWmazing! How cool is it that tomatoes not only pack a powerful punch in their taste factor, but are absolutely LOADED in the nutrient department as well?!
Check out the long list of vitamins, minerals, and goodies. Woo hoo!
Tomatoes are a treasure of riches when it comes to their antioxidant benefits. In terms of conventional antioxidants, tomatoes provide an excellent amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene; a very good amount of the mineral manganese; and a good amount of vitamin E. In terms of phytonutrients, tomatoes are basically off the chart, and include:
Wow. So much nutrition in a juicy ball of goodness. Amazing.
“Today tomatoes are enjoyed worldwide – to the tune of about 130 million tons per year. The largest tomato-producing country is China (with approximately 34 million tons of production), followed by the United States, Turkey, India, and Italy.” – WH Foods
Along with all of the above nutrients, eating tomatoes is believed to keep diseases such as the following at bay:
Updated to include warning (brought to my attention by a reader in the comments): If you suffer from psoriasis or other autoimmune disease, eliminating or significantly reducing your intake of raw nightshade foods (such as tomatoes) can drastically improve the symptoms you suffer from. You can read more on this topic here:Nightshade Vegetables and Psoriasis (Livestrong.com).
Reader Linda Kann said this in her comment: “I realise that the main source of methanol is from smoking and aspartame but now I make sure I only have small amounts of raw tomato, and if I make a sauce I simmer it long enough in an open pan to boil away the methanol.”
That is just an excerpt, as her comment was lengthy.
Do you grow your own tomatoes? Do you have childhood memories of picking fresh tomatoes from a grandparent’s or neighbor’s vines? Or, are you making your own memories with your children or family members today? Do share the juicy details!