Tomatoes are pretty fabulous. Growing up I’ve always considered the tomato to be a vegetable as I watched my mom prepare it as an ingredient in every meal. And I mean, every single meal. Mostly everything we ate was a form of stew so tomatoes were always chopped up next to the garlic, the onions and scallions. The variety of tomatoes are surprisingly numerous and the uses are endless: ketchup, tomato sauce, tomato paste, pizza topping, spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, tomato juice. It seems like there’s a tomato for every reason.
Recently I’ve warmed up to idea of them as fruits enjoying the small cherry-like versions which are awefully sweet, almost like candy. They are the perfect on-the-go snack, a good mid morning or after lunch picker upper.
I hadn’t seen these colorful cherry tomatoes before photographing them here: yellows, greens, reds, oranges. They’re so eye-catching; I’m sure they’d be a great hit with the kids and adults. Now, let’s talk about the best part: the benefits! That traditional red color comes from a carotenoid called lycopene. Remember that name! Ly~co~pene. It’s an antioxidant compound which comes straight from heaven. It’s known for inhibiting cancer cells: prostate cancer in men, cervical/breast in women, as well as lung cancer. It’s also a powerhouse against heart disease and macular degeneration in the eyes. And I’m no medic but I’m pretty sure tomatoes are what the doctor ordered.
Ok, now can we talk about how stunning they are on the vine? Gosh I never want to slice them open when they’re so perfectly round and huddled together. But I eventually do and toss them into my egg situations like you see here.
And this monstrous peculiar looking thing is called an heirloom tomato. I saw the first one when my friend Mel gifted me one from his garden a few months ago. It was the best thing I’d had… since slice bread! Healthy. Filling. Juicy. Deelish! Heirloom tomatoes are rambunctious and come in every kind of size, odd shapes, mixed colors, and succulent flavors.
So… go grab them up. Pick different colors, snack on the cherry ones and bite into sweet heirlooms! And the word you want to remember is … LYCOPENE.
Nothin’. What’s tomato with you?