Red, yellow, small or large, the tomato is a firm favourite in kitchens all over the world.
Tomatoes have been around for thousands of years and were already being cultivated in southern Mexico and surrounding regions, around 500 BC. Here are some fascinating facts that will help you gain newfound appreciation for this humble kitchen staple.
- Tomatoes are often planted with asparagus. This is to help protect the latter from beetles that can destroy entire crops of asparagus. The solanum in tomatoes kills these destructive beetles.
- Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, is what gives tomatoes their bright colour. This antioxidant, in cooked tomatoes, has the potential to prevent prostate cancer.
- Gigantomo is a new type of tomato plant. It produces tomatoes that can reach up to 10 inches in width and weigh as much as 450 grams. This is 12 times the size of an average tomato!
- Lycopene has been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect itself against UV rays.
- It is best to store tomatoes unwashed at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. Refrigerating tomatoes can harm the flavour.
- The leaves, stems and green unripe fruit of the tomato plant contain small amounts of tomatine which is a toxic
- Just 100 grams of raw red tomatoes contain 17 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C!
- Around 95 percent of a raw tomato is water