Growing tomatoes for flavor? Try the heirlooms. Photo by Joe Shlabotnik under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
Okay, I'll admit I was hungry when I wrote this post. But, would you look at that roasted tomato bruschetta? Photo by avlxyz under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
George Clooney in "Return of the Killer Tomatoes". Image credit: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: Everett Collection
I love trivia. In fact, it often leads me to some very interesting research as I write. I also love tomatoes and George Clooney. It just so happens, by happy coincidence, all three of these topics actually intersect; at least in this post.
Here’s an interesting foodie fact: Next to the potato, tomatoes are the most important commercial veggie in America (consumed, as well as annual yield). Tomatoes or “love apples” are grown the world over in places such as Italy, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Taiwan, and Algeria.
Still, no place produces tomatoes like good old California. The golden state is the world’s leading producer and accounts for half of the world’s total tomato production. California grows 9 out of every 10 of the processed tomatoes in the United States. Check this out – they can more tomatoes in a day than Ohio does during the whole growing season. It would be remiss of me not to point out, however, that Florida pumps out the most in the fresh tomato department.
The Health Benerifts of Tomatoes
The tomato has completely solidified its place in the healthy diet with its vast amount of health benefits. The first claim-to-fame for the tomato is lycopene. This is what gives tomatoes their seductive color. Go ahead and be seduced; lycopene is the antioxidant that helps reduce the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer.
Love apples are rich in antioxidants, calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, with a back-up of some vitamin B, phosphorus, potassium, and is a good source of fiber. They also help cleanse toxic compounds out of your body. Just to really wow you, they also contain tomatine.
What good is tomatine? This is the primary alkaloid in a tomato plant which is concentrated in it’s leaves and fruit (while it’s green) which heals certain skin funguses. All of these nutritional perks have major benefits for the liver, heart, urinary tract, eyes, stomach, and intestines. Diabetics benefit from the antioxidants, fiber, iron, and vitamins A, C, and E in tomatoes because blood sugar levels are largely regulated by these nutrients.
Tomatoes are being touted as the vegetable that contributes the largest amount of nutrients to Americans (again, with the exception of potatoes).
Oh yeah – so what do tomatoes and George Clooney have in common? Well, George made his movie debut in the first sequel to the cult film, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1978). Now, that’s some excellent trivia for you to file away.
Last, if you love that tomato flavor but the acid messes with your stomach, try yellow or white tomatoes. These pale-faces are less acidic (sometimes much less) than their vivid counterparts. Of course, you’ll have to sacrifice the healthy lycopene. But you can’t have everything.
Want to grow tomatoes in your garden? Here’s more info…