Tomatoes are in the nightshade family and contain many varieties such as cherry, Roma, green, yellow, heirloom and beefsteak. They are categorized as a fruit, not a vegetable, but have a slightly sweet and acidic taste. In mid-Missouri, tomatoes should be planted from mid-April to mid-May and harvested from July through October.

Health Benefits

  • Rich in antioxidants that protect from oxidative cell damage and stress, increase enzyme function, and can protect skin from UV damage.
  • Cardiovascular health: Antioxidants found in vitamins C & E help the heart to circulate oxygen throughout the body.
  • Phytonutrients prevent blood platelet coagulation. Lycopene prevents lipids found in cell membranes or circulating in the bloodstream to be oxidized or damaged (called lipid peroxidation).
  • Decrease some cancer risks: primarily for prostate, lung, pancreatic, and breast cancer.
  • Some studies have linked diets containing tomatoes with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and obesity.


  • Select tomatoes that are ripe, colorful, and do not have dents, bruising, or holes.
  • Try to buy organic, as tomatoes are usually covered in pesticides. Always wash well before use.
  • Ripe tomatoes ready for use should be stored out of direct sunlight an in room temperature.
  • Tomatoes that are ripe but not used that same day, place in the door in the refrigerator to keep from further ripening for up to two days.

How to Use

  • In pasta sauces like marinara and bolognese
  • In dips like guacamole, salsa, and pico de gallo or used as bruschetta
  • In salads, soups, sandwiches, and wraps
  • Stuffed with quinoa, brown rice, ground meats, and vegetables
  • Baked into tomato pies, tarts, galettes, or shakshuka
  • In dishes like omelettes, and baked along side chicken breasts or fillets of fish

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