Friday, November 4, 2016

Tomato fruit for cooking

The fruit of an annual plant (in temperate climates or short-lived perennial (in warm climates) Lycopersicon esculentum of which some varieties grow to over 2.5 high whilst other are low bushes.

The world tomato comes from tomatl in Aztec language. Christopher Columbus would have been the first to bring back to Europe in early 1490’s where they were initially cultivated as ornamental and tabletop decorations.

The tomato fruit is mostly water with only about 5% to 7% of the fruit being solids,, with most fruit being closer to 5% than 7%. Of the solid content, about half is composed of sugars and one-eight acids.

Although technically a fruit they are used exclusively as a salad or cooking vegetable or as a flavoring and thickener for a range of soups, sauces and other cooked dishes.

Fresh tomatoes readily cook down to a smooth puree, but many canned tomatoes don’t. Canners frequently add calcium salts to firm the cell walls and keep the pieces intact, and this can interfere with their disintegration during cooking.

The red pigment in the tomato fruit, lycopene, is an antioxidant whose content in tomato fruit increases as the fruit ripens. Lycopene is called the ‘world’s most powerful antioxidant’ and can help prevent the development of various forms of cancer, the effect varying with one’s sex and the type of cancer.
Tomato fruit for cooking
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