Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin A and potassium. They are moderately rich in Vitamin C and B-complex. They are naturally low in calories, sodium, and fat.
Planting and Harvesting Tomatoes
The ideal time to plant tomatoes in Central Texas is March to April in spring and July to August in the fall. Harvesting of ripe tomatoes will occur around May to June in the spring and October until first frost in the fall.
|Plant Tomatoes||Harvest Tomatoes|
|March to April||May to June|
|July to August||October to the first frost|
Storing Harvested Tomatoes
Ripe tomatoes should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a week of harvest. Unripe tomatoes that are slightly pink should be stored in indirect light or in a paper bag to ripen. Once fully ripe, refrigerate and use within 2-3 days.
Choosing Tomatoes for Freezing
Harvest your tomatoes when they achieve a firm texture with a slight softness and a red, ripe color. Tomatoes with sunburn (green or yellow areas near the stem scar), and growth cracks (deep brown cracks around the stem scar) may suggest over-ripe fruit or water fluctuations during ripening. In addition, decayed tomatoes will have soft, water-soaked spots, depressed areas, or surface mold (a grayish-looking growth). If the tomatoes need further ripening after harvesting, do not store them in the refrigerator – cold temperatures slow down the ripening process and may ruin the flavor. As mentioned above, store in indirect sunlight or in a paper bag until fully ripened. Tomatoes are very versatile and can be frozen in different forms, such as tomato juice, stewed tomatoes, and raw tomato pieces. Conventional blanching is not done on tomatoes due to their delicate texture. The procedures for freezing these different forms of tomato products are given below.
- Cut tomatoes into quarters or eighths.
- Simmer 5 to 10 minutes
- Press through a sieve
- If desired, add 1 tablespoon salt to each quart of juice for seasoning.
- Pour into containers, leaving 1 1/2″ head-space.
- Seal and freeze.
- Remove stem ends, peel and quarter tomatoes.
- Cover and cook until tender, about 10 to 20 minutes. Place pan containing tomatoes in ice water to cool. Pack into containers, leaving 1″ head-space.
- Seal and freeze
- Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds to loosen skins.
- Core and peel.
- Freeze whole or in pieces.
- Pack into containers, leaving 1″ head-space.
- Seal and Freeze.
To enjoy your fresh tomatoes, we offer the following recipe.
- 4 fresh medium-sized tomatoes
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 lb. broccoli flowerets
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Dash of nutmeg
- Non-stick spray
- Slice tops from tomatoes. Carefully scoop out insides, leaving a shell, 1/4″- thick.
- Lightly sprinkle inside with salt and pepper. Invert tomatoes over paper towels to drain.
- Cook broccoli, in two batches, in 4 qts. boiling salted water, about 3 mins. until just tender crisp. Drain well. Cool. Reserve some flowerets for garnish.
- Dice the broccoli into fine pieces with a knife. Add egg, half and half, cheese, and nutmeg.
- Spoon broccoli mixture into tomatoes, mounding lightly. Place stuffed tomatoes on a prepared baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Bake at 350°F for 30-35 min. until firm to the touch.
- Place one reserved floweret on each tomato before serving.
Nutritional Analysis (per serving): Calories:122; Protein:8.9 gm; Carbohydrates:12.7 gm; Total Fat:5.52 gm; Cholesterol:57.3 gm; Dietary Fiber:4.8 gm; Vitamin A:465 RE; Vitamin C:138 mg; Calcium:168 mg; Potassium:680 mg; Sodium:178 mg;
Diabetic Exchanges: 1/2 Lean Meat, 2 Vegetable, 2/3 Fat
The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service is implied.
Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.
Publication Revised January 2009