Cooking Tips

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Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Do not use an aluminum pot, pan or utensil when cooking tomatoes. The acid in the tomato reacts unfavorably with the aluminum. Using aluminum makes the cooked tomatoes more bitter and fades the color. The dish will also absorb some of the aluminum, and the acid in the tomatoes can pit and discolor the aluminum cookware.

  • If your tomatoes seem overly acidic, you can add a sprinkle of sugar and salt, both of which will bring out the flavor.
  • If you rather not use sugar, then add a grated carrot to combat acidity. The carrot disintegrates in the sauce and adds sweetness but no hint of carrot flavor.
  • In tomato sauce, a quarter teaspoon of baking soda per gallon will also help alleviate acidity.

Tomato History

The high acidic content of the tomato makes it a prime candidate for canning, which is one of the main reasons the tomato was canned more than any other fruit or vegetable by the end of the nineteenth century.

Is tomato a fruit or vegetable? Botanically-speaking, the tomato is a fruit and can be further classified as a berry since it is pulpy and has edible seeds.

Most of us use the tomato as we do vegetables, primarily in savory dishes.

In 1893, an importer claimed the tomato as a fruit in order to avoid vegetable import tariffs imposed by the United States. This dispute led to the Supreme Court ruling for taxation purposes that the tomato be classified as a vegetable, since it was primarily consumed in the manner of a vegetable rather than a fruit, which was usually used in desserts.

Tomatoes and Health

In November, 1998, a press release from the Heinz Institute of Nutritional Sciences touted the benefits of lycopene, a dietary carotenoid found in high concentrations in processed tomato products, including ketchup and canned tomato products.

Lycopene is an antioxidant, which supposedly fights the free radicals that can interfere with normal cell growth and activity. These free radicals can potentially lead to cancer, heart disease and premature aging.

Tomatoes are also high in vitamin C (concentrated the most in the juice sacs surrounding the seeds) and contain goodly amounts of potassium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin A and vitamin B.

As a source of fiber, one medium tomato will equal one slice of whole wheat bread with a penalty of only 35 calories.


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