Red, ripe tomatoes aplenty
Heather Little-White, Ph.D., Contributor
"Ripe, ripe 'plummy' tomatoes! Come buy … going at $10 a pound … good for cooking up yu brown stew and the ackee and salt fish," shouts a vendor in Coronation Market at the close of Saturday's market day. The surplus of tomatoes in the market is a benefit for consumers and especially those who like to try Italian dishes.
Tomatoes add the taste of a sunny climate to a range of dishes including stews, soups, sauces, relishes a makes a mélange (mix) of fresh vegetables. The beefsteak variety enlivens any salad and adds meaty succulence to sandwiches. Cherry tomatoes are sweet and juicy and are excellent for crudités which are small pieces of vegetables arranged on a platter for appetisers or snacking, often served with a dip.
According to WiseGeek.com plum tomatoes are roughly egg-shaped and sized tomatoes and are ideal for sauces and canning. Their breeding has made them highly flavourful, with a high solid content. Plum tomatoes are also easier to handle than some other tomato varieties and you get them all year. Plum tomatoes are easy to grow at home and easily add colour to your dishes
The Italian plum tomato boasts more pulp and sugar and ideal for sauces. One well known variety of the plum tomato is the Roma tomato, an Italian variety grown throughout the world. Romas can stand up to canning and are less prone to bruising when harvested and transported to the market. Tomatoes hold their shape well when canned for future use.
The plum tomato is very fleshy, with fewer seed compartments than many other tomato cultivars. Plum tomatoes are ideal for drying because of their concentrated flavour and lower moisture content. In sauces, the concentrated flavour can enhance the flavour and mouth feel of the sauce.
Apart from their culinary value, tomatoes, native to South America, have been linked to a range of health benefits. It is well established that eating tomatoes regularly could reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men. Tomatoes should be eaten whole to get the full healthy effect. Experts in prostate cancer care posit that the important thing to remember is that you need the whole of the tomato to get its goodness. Tomatoes are easy to eat as a snack with a little brown sugar sprinkled over them.
Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycophene which helps in warding off the onset of prostate breast and stomach cancers by mopping up free radicals in the body that could harm the cells. Tomatoes also contain flavonoids, potassium and other minerals. The red fruit (biological classification) is loaded with vitamins A, C and E.
One plum tomato has only 11 calories which is one per cent of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) with 9 per cent from fat, 75 per cent from carbohydrates and 16 per cent from protein. One tomato has 0.12g fat; 2.43g fat and 0.55g of protein.
Red, ripe tomatoes aplenty
Fresh Tomato Relish
4 cups plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk scallion, finely chopped
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2. Let stand for at least thirty minutes or overnight to marinate.
Serve with grilled chicken, fish or Italian bread
Yields 4 cups
Nutrition: 1/2 cup gives 38 calories: 4 per cent of the daily value for protein; 15% carbohydrate: 81 per cent fat: 70 mg sodium.
(Source: Good Food Magazine)