The Skinny on...Tomatoes

Get the lowdown on the star ingredient in gazpacho, salsa, spaghetti sauce, fried green tomatoes and so much more.
Skinny On TomatoesThe Skinny On

Colonial Americans believed them to be poisonous. The French considered them an aphrodisiac. Italians dubbed them the “gold apple:” pomodoro. But no matter where you hail from, nowadays tomatoes are an essential part of a tasty, healthy, diet.

At their peak from June through September, tomatoes are as versatile as they are waistline-friendly. They’re a good source of potassium and high in vitamins C and A. Cooked tomatoes also provide lycopene, an antioxidant thought to reduce cancer risk, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration. In fact, the tomato is the biggest source of lycopene in the American diet. And tomato lycopene absorption is maximized when tomatoes are cooked with little oil — think chili and spaghetti sauce.

Choosing and Storing
When buying, look for firm, deeply colored and blemish-free tomatoes that feel heavy for their size. Store stem-side down at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. And whatever you do, don’t put them in the fridge: cold turns the flesh mushy and drains tomatoes of flavor. Buy only what you’ll use within a few days.

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