TomAto, TomaAHto or Love Apple
The tomato is called the ‘love apple‘ due to its seductive red colour and its sensuous sweet flesh. It is referred to as the ‘devil’s fruit’ by the Roman Catholic Church.
Translation of French “pomme d'amour ” (from the former belief in the tomato’s aphrodisiacal powers) : pomme, apple + de, of + amour, love.
The tomato belongs to the Nightshade Family.
The Solanaceae, or nightshades, are an economically important family that ranges from herbs to trees, and includes a number of crops, medicinal plants, spices, weeds, and ornamentals.
Tomato plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground.
One medium whole tomato contains around 22 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of protein and 6 milligrams of sodium. It also provides 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 20 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, 2 percent of the RDA of iron, and 1 percent of the RDA of calcium.
The Health Benefits include:
Protection against some cancers
Prevents DNA damage
Reduce risk of Heart Disease
Protection against thrombosis
Can work against impotency and help increase the sperm count.
Tomatoes are powerful blood purifiers and clear up urinary tract infections.
Have anti oxidant properties being high sources of vitamin C and vitamin A. The Vitamin A especially wards off macular degeneration and improves eyesight.
Drinking 8 ounces of low sodium tomato juice a day can prevent inflammatory diseases like osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.
They are high in fiber.
They are good for the skin and widely used in the manufacturing industry for skin care and beauty products.
What has triggered my post today is the sad fact that I have had to throw the last of our ripening tomatoes away. We had an excellent crop again this year, although at the beginning it all looked pretty bleak as we lost 5 of our 6 plants to a surprise frost. We cheated a bit for replacements and seeing a sign on the roadside advertising plants at 50p, stopped and purchased 4.
Every year we say we’re not going to let them get away from us, and every year despite our best efforts, the Triffid Tomatoes rule and overrun the veg patch. The Purchased Four outshone our Pathetic One in growth, so not only did we use canes for support, but 1″ batten in the vain hope that we wouldn’t lose any to the ground and snails. We had so many string bows on each plant, they could easily have been mistaken for under-training violins or makeshift Christmas Trees.
We always get excited at the sight of our first green marbles, and naturally the Purchased Four were miles ahead of the game here. But not to be outdone, our Pathetic One soon got the idea and generated its own little display of baubles. What was really frustrating was that I had loads of tomatoes on the vine, but still had to buy them as mine wanted to stay EVER GREEN (isn’t that a song title?) .
They eventually started to blush in July, but didn’t get totally embarrassed until mid August. The first picking was one off a group on one of The Purchased Four. The Pathetic One was doing valiantly by now, being almost as tall as the rest, just not quite so bushy. It deserved a batten and a couple of bows in its own right too as the fruit was coming in abundance.
It was amazing that all 5 plants started to lean towards the back of the garden though. It didn’t matter how we trimmed or tied them, they would still creep in that single direction, and of course, got away from us by cheating and crawling along the floor. Once we started picking fruit though, we didn’t stop. I have about 8 kilos in the freezer, all duly chopped and prepared for pasta dishes. Using homegrown tomatoes in my cooking gave meals a totally different taste, especially as the two varieties complimented each other, and instead of covering my McCheese (Macaroni Cheese) with grated cheese and a tomato garnish prior to cooking, I layered the top completely with sliced tomatoes and sprinkled a little cheese on top of that. Much better for us, as it reduced the fat (cheese) content of the dish.
We are not fans of chutneys so I don’t make it but at one stage, I had 3 large bowls of fresh tomatoes in the fridge (not including the frozen ones) and about 3 dozen or so ripening in the conservatory. The plants continued to produce flowers, so we had another batch coming but noticed that the leaves were turning yellow, the stems woody, and the fruit thereon began to rot on the vine before even approaching the blush stage. We decided to pull the plants last week, and put all the good fruit in the conservatory to finish off. Unfortunately, things had gone a bit too far and instead of turning red, the green flesh was mottled with brown as it rotted from within.
I have no idea how much weight of fruit we achieved this year from our five plants, but IT WAS A LOT! The Purchased Four produced large, round, very red and firm tomatoes, whereas the Pathetic One, rechristened The Survivor, produced smaller, not quite so red but sweeter fruit. Either way though, plant for plant, there wasn’t a lot in it, which is just as well as we both love tomatoes!