It’s Fresh Tomato Day!

Fresh Tomato DayDid you know the best place to store tomatoes is at room temperature (above 55 degrees F) until they’ve fully ripened. A ripe tomato is red or reddish-orange, depending on variety and yields to slight pressure.

Store them stem end up as the “shoulders” are the softest part and bruise most easily. Keep them out of director sunlight. If you must store them a longer time, place them (after they’ve ripened fully) in the refrigerator.

You can celebrate this Food Holiday by donating Tomato based items like (Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Tomato Paste, etc) to the Food Bank or a local food pantry.

Tomato Health & Nutrition Values

Tomatoes contain the antioxidants Vitamin C and Carotenoids (including beta carotene), which are believed to provide protection from free radicals that cause premature aging, cancer, heart disease and cataracts.

Tomatoes are low in calories, about 35 for a medium tomato, but proportionately high in sugar—a corresponding 8 grams. Its juice is naturally low in sodium (one cup has 1% of your daily value) and zero fat. It is also a good source of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamine and vitamin K; and a very good source of folate, potassium, and vitamins A, B6 and C.

History of the Tomato

The tomato is a native of Mesoamerica: it was cultivated by the Aztecs and Incas. In 1519, Cortez found it growing in Montezuma’s gardens, and it became part of the culinary bounty brought back to Spain (along with chocolate and turkeys) by the 16th-century conquistadors. Most of Europe embraced them, except the British, who believed them to be poisonous (a member of the deadly nightshade family, the leaves are poisonous if consumed in large quantity).

After five centuries of breeding, there are thousands of varieties of tomatoes in a vast array of shapes, colors and sizes. The most common shapes in the U.S. are round (beefsteak and globe), pear-shaped (roma and plum) and the miniature (cherry and grape).