SCIENTIFIC NAME

Solanum lycopersicum

CLASSIFICATION

Fruit

SEASON

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

About

The tomato is undoubtedly the cook’s versatile friend. A Mediterranean cuisine favourite this aromatic, sweet and tart fruit vegetable, features in many of our modern day favourite dishes. Plump, shiny and red it adds colour and flavour to salads, sandwiches, juices and sauces, and stars as a leading food in the fight against cancer.

Aromatic, sweet and tart with a juicy and unique texture the tomato is available all year round. It is in abundant supply from August to April.

Tips and Hints

The Mediterranean climate in the south west of WA is ideally suited for outdoor growing in summer, while the sub tropical north allows outdoor production in winter.

When there is a short supply of tomatoes in WA, tomatoes get imported from SA and QLD.

When buying tomatoes, the best eating experience usually comes from firm, aromatic, fully ripe fruit.

Look for plump fruit with shiny, deep red skin, free of bruising and indentation.

Tomatoes are different to many other fruits and vegetables in that they do not store best in a refrigerator.

The optimum storage temperature for mature green tomatoes is 13C, while fully ripe fruit stores best at 5-7C.

Except in the height of Summer, tomatoes at home are generally best stored on a kitchen bench, out of direct sunlight with the stem side up.

Tips and Hints
Tomatoes can be frozen whole.

To wash, wet each tomato with water, rub its surface, rinse it with running water, and dry it with a paper towel.

For use in salads and sandwiches, slice tomato vertically to prevent the juice and seeds spilling out.
To stuff, cut horizontally to remove seeds and juice.

To peel your tomatoes, mark an X on the bottom of each one and place them in boiling water for about 20 seconds. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon, then plunge into cold water. The skins should come off easily from the base mark.

Preparing Sauce:
There are two ways to prepare fresh, ripe tomatoes for sauce.
First, you can blanch them by plunging the tomatoes in boiling water for a little less than a minute. Drain, skin, and cut into coarse pieces. The alternative is the food mill or blender method, which produces a smooth sauce. Cut length-wise in half and put them in a saucepan. Turn on the heat to medium and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how thick the tomatoes are getting. Use the food mill disk with the smallest holes or puree in the blender.

For freezing:
After washing, cut away the stem scar and surrounding area and discard it before slicing or chopping the tomato.

Freezing whole tomatoes with skins on: Prepare tomatoes as described above. Cut away the stem scar. Place the tomatoes on a tray lined with baking paper and freeze. Tomatoes do not need to be blanched before freezing. Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes into freezer bags or other containers. Seal tightly. When ready to use, just run a frozen tomato under warm water in the kitchen sink. Its skin will slip off easily.

Freezing peeled tomatoes: If you prefer to freeze peeled tomatoes, you can wash the tomatoes and then dip them in boiling water for about 1 minute or until the skins split. Peel and freeze as noted above.

Tips and Hints
Always store tomatoes at room temperature.

To wash, wet each tomato with water, rub its surface, rinse it with running water, and dry it with a paper towel.

For use in salads and sandwiches, slice tomato vertically to prevent the juice and seeds spilling out.
To stuff, cut horizontally to remove seeds and juice.

To peel your tomatoes, mark an X on the bottom of each one and place them in boiling water for about 20 seconds. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon, then plunge into cold water. The skins should come off easily from the base mark.

Preparing Sauce:
There are two ways to prepare fresh, ripe tomatoes for sauce.
First, you can blanch them by plunging the tomatoes in boiling water for a little less than a minute. Drain, skin, and cut into coarse pieces. The alternative is the food mill or blender method, which produces a smooth sauce. Cut length-wise in half and put them in a saucepan. Turn on the heat to medium and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how thick the tomatoes are getting. Use the food mill disk with the smallest holes or puree in the blender.

For freezing:
After washing, cut away the stem scar and surrounding area and discard it before slicing or chopping the tomato.

Freezing whole tomatoes with skins on: Prepare tomatoes as described above. Cut away the stem scar. Place the tomatoes on a tray lined with baking paper and freeze. Tomatoes do not need to be blanched before freezing. Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes into freezer bags or other containers. Seal tightly. When ready to use, just run a frozen tomato under warm water in the kitchen sink. Its skin will slip off easily.

Freezing peeled tomatoes: If you prefer to freeze peeled tomatoes, you can wash the tomatoes and then dip them in boiling water for about 1 minute or until the skins split. Peel and freeze as noted above.

Tips and Hints
Always store tomatoes at room temperature.

Tomatoes are low in sodium, saturated fats and cholesterol, while being a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium and Manganese.

Antioxidants found in tomatoes are thought to combat the harmful effects of free radicals in the human body. Of note tomatoes contain high amounts of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to decrease risk of chronic diseases, in particular cancers of the prostate, lung, and stomach.

Research has shown that tomatoes that are fully ripe and red have higher levels of lycopene than partially ripe fruit or types that are other colours. Cherry tomato varieties have also been found to have among the highest levels of lycopene of different varieties tested. Most tomato fruit sold in WA is delivered to the market at the fully ripe stage.

Tomatoes are also a very good source of fibre, which has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels, keep blood sugar levels from getting too high and assist in good colon health.

TOMATO Gourmet Cherry
Nutrient Value per 100 g Value per 100 g
Proximates
Energy, including dietary fibre 74 kJ 65 kJ
Moisture 94.2 g 93.1 g
Protein 1 g 0.5 g
Nitrogen 0.16 g 0.08 g
Fat 0.1 g 0.1 g
Ash 0.6 g 0.6 g
Dietary fibre 1.2 g 1.7 g
Fructose 1.2 g 1.2 g
Glucose 1.1 g 1 g
Sucrose 0 g 0 g
Maltose 0 g 0 g
Lactose 0 g 0 g
Total sugars 2.3 g 2.2 g
Starch 0.1 g 0 g
Available carbohydrate, without sugar alcohols 2.4 g 2.2 g
Available carbohydrate, with sugar alcohols 2.4 g 2.2 g
Organic Acids
Lactic acid 0 g 0 g
Malic acid 0.1 g 0.1 g
Citric acid 0.5 g 0.4 g
Oxalic acid 0 g 0 g
Quinic acid 0 g 0 g
Minerals
Antimony (Sb) 0 ug 0 ug
Arsenic (As) 0.2 ug 0.2 ug
Cadmium (Cd) 0.6 ug 0.6 ug
Calcium (Ca) 9 mg 11 mg
Chromium (Cr) 1 ug 1 ug
Copper (Cu) 0.042 mg 0.047 mg
Fluoride (F) 130 ug 0 ug
Iodine (I) 0.1 ug 0.2 ug
Iron (Fe) 0.27 mg 0.5 mg
Lead (Pb) 0 ug 0 ug
Magnesium (Mg) 7 mg 12 mg
Manganese (Mn) 0.092 mg 0 mg
Mercury (Hg) 0 ug 0 ug
Molybdenum (Mo) 2.3 ug 2.3 ug
Nickel (Ni) 3 ug 3 ug
Phosphorus (P) 26 mg 0 mg
Potassium (K) 214 mg 240 mg
Selenium (Se) 0.4 ug 0.6 ug
Sodium (Na) 8 mg 10 mg
Tin (Sn) 0 ug 0 ug
Zinc (Zn) 0.31 mg 0.14 mg
Vitamins
Thiamin (B1) 0 mg 0.06 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 0 mg 0.04 mg
Niacin (B3) 0 mg 1 mg
Niacin Equivalents 0.17 mg 1.05 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0 mg 0 mg
Pyridoxine (B6) 0.03 mg 0 mg
Biotin (B7) 2.7 ug 0 mg
Folate, natural 16 ug 18 ug
Folic acid 0 ug 0 ug
Total folates 16 ug 18 ug
Dietary folate equivalents 16 ug 18 ug
Alpha carotene 0 ug 20 ug
Beta carotene 150 ug 460 ug
Cryptoxanthin 7 ug 40 ug
Beta carotene equivalents 153 ug 490 ug
Lutein 18.5 ug 0 ug
Lycopene 537.5 ug 0 ug
Retinol 0 ug 0 ug
Retinol equivalents 26 ug 82 ug
Vitamin C 18 mg 28 mg
Alpha tocopherol 0.2 mg 0 mg
Beta tocopherol 0.1 mg 0 mg
Delta tocopherol 0 mg 0 mg
Gamma tocopherol 0.2 mg 0 mg
Vitamin E 0.26 mg 0 mg
Amino Acids
Tryptophan (mg/g N) 0 MN 38 MN
Tryptophan (mg) 0 mg 3 mg

Source:

NUTTAB 2010(Food Standards Australia New Zealand); The University of New South Wales; Professor Heather Greenfield and co-workers at the University of New South Wales; Tables of composition of Australian Aboriginal Foods (J Brand-Miller, KW James and PMA Maggiore).

Tips and Hints:

Lycopene the cancer fighting antioxidant found in tomatoes is more readily absorbed into body tissue if the tomato is cooked.