Tomatoes are the most common garden vegetable that are eaten in the United States. They are known for containing high amounts of vitamin C, and while they are often eaten as vegetables and with other vegetables, they are actually fruit. Tomatoes are readily available, for they are produced year round. They are used in a variety of products, such as tomato paste and sauce, ketchup, soup mix, etc.
There are hundreds of different kinds of tomatoes and they are categorized by their shape and color.
Round tomatoes are the most common type of tomato. They are also known as “beefstake” or “slicing” tomatoes and can easily weigh up to two pounds. Round tomatoes make up the majority of sales in the Unites States. They are often eaten raw in sandwiches and salads.
Cluster Tomatoes are sold while they are still attached to their vines. While all cluster tomatoes are fairly small in size, they do come in a variety of shapes and colors. Some are darker red, while others are lighter red; some are round shaped, while others are more oval shaped. A cherry tomato is a type of cluster tomato. It is named for its similar appearance to a cherry. They are picked at various stages of the ripening process, depending on the specific type of cluster tomato. Cluster tomatoes are generally eaten in salads, although many enjoy eating them as a snack because of their small size.
Heirloom tomatoes are the most versatile. They come in all different colors, such as yellow, green, and orange. Their name comes from the fact that they were commonly grown in earlier agricultural history, and are not grown so often in modern times. Gourmet chefs are readily attracted to the heirloom tomatoes because of their unique color. They do not live for very long after they are picked and must be sold close to where they are picked. Heirloom tomatoes also differ in taste. While some are sweeter (Big Rainbow), others can be more tart (Green Moldovan.)
A Roma tomato, which is the original “sauce” tomato, is sometimes called a “plum tomato.” They are most commonly used for tomato sauce, because they have a small amount of seeds and a thick layer of flesh. Roma tomatoes tend to be less juicy than other tomatoes. They are similar in size to the cluster tomatoes, but they are shaped like a pear. Roma tomatoes are generally red in color and are most often grown in Italy, although they are produced by a few farmers in the U.S.
All tomatoes are a good source of iron and calcium. They also contain sulfur, phosphorus, and potassium. Tomatoes are generally not caloric and are often recommended for people who are overweight. However, tomatoes are not healthy for everyone. People with certain illnesses or organ transplants are recommended to lower their intake of acidic foods including tomatoes.
While the tomato is native to South America, it is eaten worldwide. There are speculations that Chrisopher Columbus discovered the tomato in the late 1400’s. Others believe that an explorer named Cortez brought it back to Europe after capturing Mexico City in 1521. Whatever the case may be, no one can deny its international popularity and wonderful taste.