Sunday, February 23, 2014
There is an amazing array of colors for just about any vegetable. The most popular American vegetable, the tasty tomato is no exception. There are yellow, green, orange, tie dye, pink, brown, indigo, and black tomatoes. The bluish, black tomatoes that are the “in” tomato are also super tasty and nutritious. Many of these dark colored beauties were developed using traditional breeding.
Here is a run down of the nutritional profile of each of the color families of the tomato:
Pink and red tomatoes: Great source of vitamin A (25% of your DV), lycopene (a powerful antioxidant), vitamin C (30% of DV), and potassium (10% of DV).
Indigo, purple, brown, black: They are chock full of anthocyanin as well as the rest of the goodies in red tomatoes. Anthocyanin is the super charged antioxidant found in blueberries. It comes from the indigo color.
Orange and yellow tomatoes: Have lower levels of lycopene. The lighter the color, the less lycopene is present.
Green tomatoes: Since they don’t have the red color, they also do not have lycopene and have little vitamin A.
The winner in the nutrition race is clearly the bluish, brownish, blackish tomato! Not only are they have the most vitamins and minerals, but they also taste fantastic.
Even if you only have a pot, you can grow tomatoes. There are many compact varieties available!
Many think the tomato came from Italy. They actually are from the Americas. Tomatoes were first discovered in the Andes of South America more than two thousand years ago and first cultivated in Mexico. When the Spanish came to America in the 1400’s, they took back the tomato to Europe. For many years, Europeans thought it was poisonous and it was grown only as an ornamental.
The Italians and Spaniards were the first Europeans to introduce tomatoes into their cooking, perhaps as early as the 1500’s. It came to the colonies around 1745 in Williamsburg by a Jewish doctor of Portuguese decent. The rest, as they say, is history. Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable grown in the United States today.