Tomatoes have been domestically grown in many parts of the world for several hundred years. Tomatoes have fleshy internal sequent filled with slippery seeds surrounded by a watery matrix. They are red yellow, orange & green in color. This is a crop of summer season & takes about 5-7 week from blooming to ripening. It is available in market throughout the year. Although it is a fruit in botanical sense, but don't have the desert quality sweetness like other fruits. Instead they have a subtle sweetness that is complemented by a slightly bitter & acidic taste. Cooking tempers the acid & bitter tastes of tomatoes & brings out their warm, rich, sweetness.
It is supposed to originate in Mexican region. In sixteenth century Spanish explorers introduced tomato into Europe & later brought to India. Tomato is very popularly grown throughout India & it ranks the largest crop after potato & sweet potatoes.
Tomatoes are rich source of several nutrients. A ripe tomato contains as much as 93 to 94 percent water. Tomato is a good source of carotin (Vitamin A), Vitamin C, potassium & minerals. A medium size tomato provides 40% of the RDA & a good source of Vitamin A (20% of RDA). Tomato Contains significant amount of Vitamin B including niacin, riboflavins, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium and folate. Tomatoes are potent protectors against heart disease. Tomatoes are also good source of chromium, folate and fiber; it is very low in calories, hundred grams of edible portion of tomato contains only 20 Kcal. Tomatoes are used raw, cooked as a vegetable or puree, pickled, canned & sun-dried. It can be used as soup, salads, ketchup and chutney and as a juice also. Human body can't manufacture Cycopene or other carotenoids so tomato is considered as the best source of Cycopene.
Recent medical research finding reported that Cycopene (red pigment) content prevents the growth of certain types of cancers in human beings. Tomato juice contains 19 amino acids, principally glutamic acid. Tomatoes have long been known to be a good source of cycopene the phytochemical which makes them red but which also has significant antioxidant properties. Now new researches have shown its antioxidant property can be boosted even more through the simple act of cooking tomatoes. Processed tomatoes e.g. canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, Ketchup contains concentrated carotenoids. Eating tomatoes with small amount of fat enable lycopene to be better absorbed.