Tomato season is generally July through September. You can buy hothouse tomatoes year-round of course, but foodies will assure you they taste nothing like a fresh, vine-ripened tomato. Tomatoes can be red, yellow, green, purple or even brown. Botanically speaking, tomatoes are a fruit, although most of us regard them as a vegetable.
Tomatoes provide plenty of vitamins C, A and K and weigh in at only 37 calories per cup. Their big draw, though, is lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant thought to prevent cancer, fight heart disease and even work as a natural sunscreen. The deeper the color of the tomato, the higher the levels of lycopene. Lycopene is best absorbed along with a little fat, which is why tomatoes and olive oil go together so nicely.
Tomatoes are sensitive to cold and should be stored at room temperature in order to preserve both taste and nutrients. Wash tomatoes under cool running water and gently pat dry before you serve or prepare them.
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- "Nutritional Information." California Asparagus Commission. 2008. http://www.calasparagus.com/consumer/nutrition-info.htm
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