What may be one of nature’s perfect little secrets comes from the nightshade plant or Solanaceae family. It’s in the same species as chili peppers, potatoes, eggplants, and tobacco.
For most, they’re classic red, round or oblong; and if it looks like a tomato and feels like a tomato…
The experts at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Kemper Center for Home Gardening could teach the average consumer a thing or two about great tomatoes. They, as well as other savvy gardeners, vegans, and consumers, know that tomatoes are not one and the same, and there really is more to life than just Roma and Cherry tomatoes. Heirlooms and Hybrids exist.
Depending on the shape, size, color, and fleshiness, there’s likely to be a great tomato out there for most.
Tomatoes have fancy names such as Better Boy, Pink Girl, Celebrity, Beefsteak, Globe, Pear, Yellow, Brandywine and Zebra, and may come in yellow, orange, purple, green, white, and pink.
In terms of the health benefits of tomatoes, they are:
- Very low in calories and fats
- Very low in saturated fat and cholesterol
- Low in sodium
- A rich source of dietary fiber
- Believed to control cholesterol, reduce weight, and help fight against certain types of cancer (i.e., breast, lung, prostate, etc.)
Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamin C, iron, B6, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin A, alpha and beta carotenes, lutein, calcium, manganese, lycopene, niacin, and other vitamins and minerals.
To spice up your salads this summer, try the tomatoes sold at Soulard Market, Save-a-Lot, Schnucks, Straub’s, Shop ‘n Save, or Dierbergs.
For tips on how to grow great tomatoes, click here (Missouri Botanical Gardens/Kemper Center).
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