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Mar 28

Health Foods A-Z: Tomato

The tomato fruit is a very popular ingredient in most cuisines around the world. It is commonly used as a vegetable. Tomatoes are known for their nutrition and are an essential ingredient to most food. They are used to make gravies, or to add a tangy taste to any preparation. Tomatoes are essential to most lentil preparations. They are also great in salads, and the most popular variant for salads is the cherry tomato. It is also a popular ingredient for drinks. Tomatoes are processed into ketchup, which is a common household condiment.

Tomatoes are of different kinds-there are cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, plum tomatoes or tomatoes on a vine among other varieties. The most important difference between these varieties, is their size. Other differences include juiciness, skin thickness and shelf life.

Not only are tomatoes low in calories, they are low in fat and have no cholesterol. Obviously, they are a weight watchers best friend. They are also an excellent source of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants that are great for the eyes, skin and bones. Vitamin C is also found in plenty in tomatoes. Vitamin C is essential to help the body build its immune system. They also contain some levels of vitamin B. Tomatoes are also known to be great for heart health.

Minerals found in tomato include potassium, that helps control heart rate and blood pressure, iron, calcium, manganese among others.

Tomatoes are good to eat when ripe, red and firm-so keep this in mind when selecting them at the grocery store. If the tomato is wrinkly and discolored, it is probably going bad. Further, those with spots and mushy ones should be avoided. Store them in the refrigerator, and try to consume as soon as possible as they do not have a very long shelf life, and the nutrition will continue to deplete as they get older. Though refrigeration is said to harm the flavor, it is best to refrigerate them if they are not being consumed immediately. Raw tomatoes can be ripened by storing in a paper bag.

The best way to have tomatoes is to have them raw, or in a salad. The recipe below is for tomato soup. This is a wonderful recipe for winter evenings, and goes very well with croutons.

Ingredients

1 tbsp. oil

1/2 tbsp. butter

2 cloves garlic,finely chopped

4-5 whole peppercorns

5 medium onions, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat oil in a pan. Add the butter. Make sure you add the oil before the butter-this helps prevent the butter from burning. You can omit the butter and adjust the oil if you prefer. Add the garlic, peppercorns and tomatoes and sauté for a few minutes. Add about 1.5 cups of water and cook the mixture for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat.

Allow the mixture to cool and then blend in a food processor. Strain this mixture and discard the pulp. The strained liquid should be heated in a pan and adjust the quantity by adding water. If the mixture is too thin, add 1 tbsp. cornflour pre mixed with 1 tbsp. water into the soup to make it thick.

Add salt and pepper and serve.

In case you would like to make the croutons, take white or brown bread and fry in oil. You can bake or roast the bread to make it crispy too. These are healthier options but the taste varies a bit.

This post is part of a series on health foods. I have previously written about Avocado, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Dates, Eggs, Fennel, Green chickpeas or chholiya, Honey, Iceberg lettuce, Jackfruit, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Milk, Nectarine, Olives, Peas, the alphabet Q, Radish and Spinach.

2 pings

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    […] This post is part of a series on health foods. I have previously written about Avocado, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Dates, Eggs, Fennel, Green chickpeas or chholiya, Honey, Iceberg lettuce, Jackfruit, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Milk, Nectarine, Olives, Peas, the alphabet Q, Radish, Spinach and Tomato. […]

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    […] Jackfruit, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Milk, Nectarine, Olives, Peas, the alphabet Q, Radish, Spinach, Tomato, the letter U and […]

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