It’s almost everyone’s favorite time of year again, tomato season! If you’re lucky enough to live near a farm, or have space to grow some vegetables in your own garden, you know how wonderful those sweet, summer flavors of tomatoes fresh from the vine can be. In today’s modern world, we often forget that tomatoes are a seasonal fruit. We’re so used to going to a grocery store and buying any fruit or vegetable we want – anytime of the year. Tomatoes are actually in season between June and September. Have you ever tasted a tomato from a grocery store and noticed that there’s barely any flavor? That’s because they’re often picked up to two weeks early so they can be shipped all over the world before ripening, thus they never develop their full flavor or nutrition.
If you live in Tomato Country, you may notice trucks full of bright green tomatoes. These are the ones destined to be trucked long distances so that they turn red around the same time they hit the grocery store shelves. But never fear, you can still get great tasting tomatoes all year long! The answer is simply cans. Our ancestors began canning food in the early 1800s, preserving produce when it was abundant and in season. It’s long been the secret to enjoying the flavors of summer all year long!
Take a moment to watch this video, featuring Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD who sheds light on the Super Food: Canned Tomatoes Harvest.
Preserving the flavor and nutrition of tomatoes through canning makes them an economical way to enjoy them all year long. Tomatoes that are harvested and used for tomato products (which makes up 75% of the entire tomato crop!) such as salsa, ketchup, tomato paste, and tomato sauce, are matured to their full nutrient and flavor potential. They’re picked at the peak of ripeness and sealed within hours to ensure that all those good-for-you nutrients make their way into your recipes consistently all year long. In fact, if you ask any chef they’ll tell you that, even in season, they count on canned tomatoes in cooking because of their consistent flavors.
There’s even an added nutrition bonus by opting for canned varieties of tomatoes. When tomatoes are heated during processing or canning, the antioxidant compound lycopene becomes more bioavailable to our bodies, offering potentially more cancer protection and anti-inflammatory benefits. That’s why you can do your body good by opting for canned varieties even during the hot days of summer—tomato season. On top of lycopene, tomatoes contain a variety of other beneficial nutrients that may be responsible for tomatoes’ health preserving properties, including vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium, as well as a variety of carotenoids, antioxidant compounds which give tomatoes their red, yellow, and orange colors.
So don’t underestimate the power of tomato products for health promotion. Scientific knowledge on tomato products’ benefits is growing to include many areas of health benefits. Here are our Top Eleven Reasons to Go Red!:
For more information on all things tomatoes, including a variety of informational videos, visit www.tomatowellness.com or visit their YouTube Channel.
Tomato Wellness Council