Vegetables Facts and Tips (2): Tomatoes


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tomato1

Tomatoes have laid on our tables for so long that we have almost forgotten they came from South America. The Spanish and the Portuguese ignored them. The British studied them. The French brought them to Europe under the name of “Love Apple”, a name still existing in Italy. So it is said,…

tomato-fruit
“Fruit Tomatoes”

This summer-maturing fruit can be bought all year round with the interesting consequence that tomatoes ripened in winter are sweeter than their summer cousins as they contain less water, earning themselves the name of “fruit tomatoes”, a great oxymoron, if there was one!

Thanks to consumers’ insatiable appetite for novelty, tomatoes are grown into all kinds of size, shape and colour.
Just to cite a few, the following are the most popular in Japan:

tomato-momotaro
“Momotaro Tomatoes”

-Momotaro (after the Japanese “Peach Boy” tale), which becomes “Fruit tomato” in winter.

tomato-midi
“Midi Tomatoes”

-Midi Tomato (sometimes called “Plum tomatoes”), a larger cousin of the “Mini tomato”, is very sweet and very high in nutrients. Its aroma has a particularly long life.

tomato-italian
“Italian tomatoes”

-Italian Tomato: mainly used for cooking, it may often come in a comparatively elongated shape.
It contains less water and reveals both large amounts of sweetness and acidity, making it very conducive to long cooking with the extra bonus of actually improving in taste upon heating.

tomato-mini
“Mini Tomatoes”

-Mini Tomato: one-bite sized, it is also called “Petit tomato”. It contains twice as many Vitamin C, and it is very rich in beneficient ingredients.

tomato-yellow-mini
“Yellow Mini Tomatoes”

-Yellow Mini Tomato: characteristic for a lot of sweetness and very little acidity. Very handy for children who dislike vegetables!

rubbins
“Ameera Rubbins”

-Ameera Rubbins: with its larger Ammeera tomato, it is grown exclusively (until now, but they are bound to expand beyond our borders!) in Shizuoka Prefecture. They are the sweetest of all, tasting like strawberries, and very firm, making them ideal for decoration, notwithstanding their nutrient value. The smallest variety called “Rubbins” is grown by only two farmers near Iwata City!

tomato-micromini
“Micro Mini Tomatoes”

-Micro Mini Tomatoes: increasingly popular, they are only 8~10 mm and look somewhat like redcurrants. Very tasty with a beautiful acidity, the Japanese use them not only in salads, but also as the final touch on a plate of sashimi!

FACTS:

-Season: All year round
-Main elements: Licopin (Ricopin), Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Potassium, Pectin, Luchin (Ruchin).
Licopin is a carotene variety particularly beneficial in fights against allergies and ageing. The Potassium and Vitamin C and Pectin help control cholesterol in blood.
Luchin reinforces capillary veins and arteries.
Recent researches in Germany and China have proven that tomatoes help control high blood pressure.
Who said that the Italians look healthier than everybody else? LOL

TIPS:

-Choose tomatoes with a deep colour and healthy strong skin!
-Preservation: before storing them into the vegetable compartment of your fridge, wrap themin newspaper or put them inside a vinyl bag, or even better, inside a rigid plastic sealed box.
-Peeling: better than boiling water, direct contact with a flame! Make a very shallow cut near the stem area, firmly stick a fork or thin skewer into the stem area, hold the tomato directly over the gas flame for a few seconds, then plunge it into cold water. Skin should come off very easily.

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10 thoughts on “Vegetables Facts and Tips (2): Tomatoes”

  1. This summer the farmer’s market in the village was a delight – one of the local producteurs brought along boxes of heirloom tomatoes each week … purple, green, ones that were so dark red they were almost black, mishapen, different sizes, a little mottled BUT my god the flavour!! It made my summer :o)

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  2. Your site is such an excellent resource for Japanese food and foodways! I love reading it not only for those aspects of cuisine with which I’m still unfamiliar but also for those that share similarities with Western culinary elements and habits. As for tomatoes, my husband and I grew our own for the first time this past summer – if I may say so, they were all the more delicious b/c we nurtured them ourselves!

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