Why would you go about preserving tomatoes instead of eating them fresh? Well, because they're out of season nine months per year and some weight loss and health benefits of tomatoes aren't present in the hothouse varieties.
You should know that lycopene, their most valuable nutrient, is absorbed easier from simmered or baked tomatoes than from fresh tomatoes.
And there’s more.
Studies have shown that your body absorbs 75% more lycopene and 41% more beta-carotene from whole tomato paste compared to the conventionally made one, where the peels are eliminated during processing. So, when you buy preserved tomatoes, choose products that include the skin.
The same studies have shown that organic ketchup delivers 3 times more lycopene (183 mcgr/ml) than the conventional brands (60 mcgr/ml).
Organic baked tomatoes are easily found. They are available canned in a variety of flavors and forms: whole, diced, crushed, juiced, sauce, or paste...
There's an important thing to remember: unfortunately, tomatoes' acidity causes corrosion to any metals they are in contact with, so it's best to avoid the risk of food contamination with lead (found in most commercial containers) by preserving the tomatoes on your own.
You can easily make ketchup or tomato juice at home with an ordinary food blender or juicer. Not only is it quick and easy, but the much richer flavor of different types of tomatoes you could mix will absolutely delight you :-)
For example, for a healthy ketchup, chop 5-6 garlic cloves, 2 large onions and sauté them a couple of minutes until translucent in a stainless steel skillet, over medium heat.
Then, add 3 pounds diced whole tomatoes, 2 cups of fresh chopped herbs like oregano, basil, parsley, and rosemary, and simmer for 30-45 minutes (you can substitute 4 spoons of dried herbs to the fresh ones).
Remove from the heat, drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and mix in a blender.
Want a yummier version?
Sauté some chopped black olives and/or mushrooms along with the garlic and onions. Mmmm...
Baked tomatoes have a smoother, richer sweetness than the sautéed ones.
IMPORTANT: whenever you're preserving tomatoes, make sure you never use aluminum cookware to avoid tainting the food with this extremely harmful metal.
...starts with buying well-shaped tomatoes with no bruises, cracks or soft spots. For best flavor, choose local tomatoes, organic if possible.
Aren’t the tomatoes you bought entirely ripen? Then store them at room temperature in a paper bag out of direct sunlight for up to a week. To speed up the ripening process, place in the bag an apple or a banana, as they produce ethylene, a chemical that makes tomatoes mature quicker.
If the tomatoes are ripened but you are not planning to eat them for another day or two, keep them in the refrigerator. However, before using them, leave them at room temperature for an hour or so to allow for better flavor and juiciness.
While refrigeration reduces their aroma, storing tomatoes in the freezer works well for up to a year whether they are whole, chopped, sliced, or juiced. Cut and place them into a freezer bag, remove as much air from the bag as possible, seal and freeze.
With a rich, delicious flavor and mild acidity, tomatoes have worked their way into thousands of recipes... try these super-easy weight loss recipes for fresh tomatoes >>