In season now: tomatoes

It’s finally here – tomato season is in full swing now that August has arrived. These plump red fruits are arguably the king of the organic vegetable garden. Hardly anyone would consider growing their own veggies without saving space for tomatoes. Of all the veggies you may have grown this summer, there truly is no comparison between a homegrown tomato and a store-bought one. The vibrant, sweet flavors that you experience when you bite into a fresh tomato that was growing in your yard mere minutes ago will be a memory that you savor as you have to bear through a winter of out-of-season fruits.

You really should be eating tomatoes
Not only are tomatoes delicious, they are extremely good for your health as well! Among their many benefits, tomatoes are powerhouses when it comes to disease prevention. They can:

  • Ward off cancer.
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Lower the chance of developing osteoarthritis.
  • Decrease inflammation

How do they do this? Tomatoes are bursting with lycopene, which is a type of antioxidant. One of the amazing qualities of lycopene is that, unlike most nutrients that deplete as fruits and vegetables are cooked, it actually becomes more potent and readily available after the tomatoes have been prepared cooked or processed.

The flavorful (and colorful) world of tomatoes
For almost anyone, the word “tomato” brings to mind images of plump, red fruits hanging from the green arms of its mother plant. However, there are tomatoes of many colors to choose from when vegetable gardening and they all have their own unique flavors.

  • Black, purple or brown tomatoes tend to be more acidic but have sweet, a winey flavor. Cherokee purple, black seaman, black prince and ananas noir are all delicious varieties that have memorable flavors and produce well. They certainly aren’t the prettiest to the traditionally trained eye, but are a must-have for the quirky gardener.
  • White tomatoes can be misleading when you first bite into them. They are so sweet that you may be inclined to believe that they don’t have any acids at all! However, the sweetness simply masks the bite. White queen is a favorite of of most gardeners for its rich flavor.
  • Green tomatoes can actually be ripe tomatoes on occasion. Adding a bit of a naturally salty flavor and an interesting visual aesthetic in meals, green tomatoes are beginning to grow in popularity. Green zebra is favored for its rich flavor, while the green giant produces large quantities of fruit with a satisfying taste.