are native to South America and Mexico and were originally
cultivated by the Incas and Aztecs. In the 16th Century they were
brought to Southern Europe where they become a major addition to their
cuisine, especially in Italy.
Today they are found in most kitchens worldwide.
Tomatoes can be
purchased in many forms; fresh, frozen, sundried and tinned.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins C, A
and K, as well as thiamin (B1), dietary fiber, potasium,
manganese, and chromium. They also contain other B
vitamins, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus and
Tomatoes are an important source of lycopene, an
open-chain, unsaturated carotenoid that is a powerful anti-oxident.
Regular daily intake of lycopene appears to decrease
the risks of developing some forms of cancer and cardiovascular
Heirloom tomato seeds, unlike those of hybrids
crossing two pure lines, are the result of normal or "open" pollination
by the wind, birds or insects within a field among similar plants.
Heirloom tomatoes feature juicy, soft, flavorful, thin-skinned and
sometimes lumpy-looking fruits in colors including red, pink, yellow,
gold, black, purple and white.
Most heirloom tomatoes offer better flavor than hybrids developed
for commercial shipping. They also provide greater genetic
diversity and generally have better resistance to diseases and pests.
There are several types of heirloom tomatoes:
are those introduced by seed companies prior to World War II and
widespread hybridization. These include the Matchless, Redfield Beauty,
Paragon and Optimus varieties.
are tomatoes that have been passed down for generations within a
family; examples include Mortgage Lifter, Red Brandwine and Kellogg's
such as Green Grape and Green Zebra, involve a crossing of two
heirlooms or an heirloom and a hybrid and stabilizing the desired
characteristics for eight years or more.
such as the off the vine Brandywine, are the result of natural
cross-pollination between other heirlooms.
Pick most kinds of tomatoes when their color is even and glossy and the
texture still slightly firm.
Some varieties, primarily large heirloom types, ripen before they reach
full color. Pick them when they are mostly colored up and bring them
inside to finish ripening.
Tomatoes are sensitive to cold. Store fresh tomatoes
at room temperature and use immediately if they are ripe. Excessively
ripe tomatoes in the refrigerator to prevent
them from becoming over ripe.
When cooking tomatoes, do not use aluminium cookware
the high acidic content of tomatoes could result in the migration of
into the food, both affecting the taste and the health benefits of the
Wash jars. Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Fill hot tomato products in jars. Remove air bubbles. Wipe sealing edge
of jars with a clean, damp paper towel. Add lids and tighten screw
bands. Process in a boiling water or pressure canner.
to process in a boiling water canner.
Fill canner halfway with water and preheat to 180˚F for hot packs or
140˚F for raw packs. Load sealed jars onto the canner rack and lower
with handles, or load one jar at a time with a jar lifter onto rack in
canner. Add water, if needed, to 1 inch above jars and add canner
cover. When water boils vigorously, lower heat to maintain a gentle
boil and process jars for the time given in Table 2
(page 2). After processing is complete, remove the canner from heat and
remove the canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, carefully remove the jars from
the canner with a jar lifter, and place them on a towel or rack to
From the Farm
Kitchen at Farmer's Market Online
Sources: Let's Preserve
Tomatoes (Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences)
Home Canning Kit