Suppression

Tomatoes

Category: Food

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

 

Tomatoes [Lycopersicon esculentum], are plants in the family Solanaceae

This means that not only are all the green parts of the plant poisonous, but you have to take care about unripe fruit as well. 

I have provided a section on green tomatoes that explains this.  Other botanical names for the plant include Lycopersicon lycopersicum

Heritage tomatoes

Tomatoes are, of course, delicious and some of the older more obscure varieties are the most delicious.  One of my abiding memories is of eating a dish of freshly sliced tomatoes with a little sugar and oil in Czechoslovakia, slightly after the fall of the iron curtain.  We had walked deep into the countryside and found a local tavern that sold simple food.   The tomatoes tasted like a savoury fruit, which is of course what they are, but you would not ever guess that from some of the bland varieties sold in supermarkets.  The flavour of the tomatoes in my meal was truly intense, like savoury peaches or plums, simply delicious.

And of course you can make purees, concentrates, ketchups, chutneys and tomato juice from tomatoes. You can even make jam.   I have provided an observation that shows that at one time tomato juice was a staple health food, drunk by those with TB in hospitals, and consumed to prevent disease.

Background

The tomato is widely grown throughout the world and there are many named varieties.  Over the considerable period of cultivation by humans two distinct types have emerged. These are:-

  • L. esculentum cerasiforme (Dunal.)A.Gray. This is the cherry tomato. Closer to the original species, it produces a large crop of small fruits with a delicious sweetness.
  • L. esculentum esculentum. This is the more commonly grown tomato with much larger fruits. There are a very large number of cultivars with a wide variety of colours and fruit shapes and sizes.
'Heritage' varieties

Lycopersicon esculentum is an annual growing to 2 m (6ft) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in).  It is hardy up to a point, but is frost tender.  Here in the North of England it is better grown under glass.  It is in flower from June to September.  The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects.  This means you could grow a single plant on a patio and it would produce tomatoes.  They grow on most well drained soils, really dislike the shade, need lots of water when the tomatoes are forming and if the soils are poor need regular feeding.

Tomato plants also need a hot sunny summer if they are to fruit well. Some varieties have been developed that can be successfully grown outdoors during the summer in temperate climates, although good summers are still required in order to get reasonable yields. Varieties have been developed in Eastern Europe that can flower and set fruit at 7°c.

 

Tomatoes are a good companion plant, helping to keep their companions free of insect pests.  But care has to be taken with them as they can suffer from mildew and rust and the dreaded tomato mosaic virus.  They dislike growing near fennel, kohl-rabi, potatoes and brassicas.  There may be perceived competition from these plants as potatoes, for example, are the same family.

Medicinally, a number of claims are made for tomatoes.  The skin of tomato fruits is a source of lycopine, a substance claimed to ‘have been shown to protect people from heart attacks’. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism and severe headaches.

The observations show actual scientific research into these properties.  The table of nutrients from Dr Duke is perhaps more helpful in this respect as it has clear uses in protecting against vitamin and mineral deficiency.  The table also shows what an extraordinarily complex plant the tomato is.  Any researcher who concentrates on just one chemical as being some magic cure-all is being, frankly, stupid.

 

One thing is worth pointing out.  The fruit in Dr Duke’s analysis had mercury, lead, silver and nickel in it.  Remember that a plant can only take up what is in the soil, as such it may mean that the soil on which this specimen was planted was contaminated – perhaps it was near a road or similar when leaded petrol was in use.  But it also highlights the fact that the plant does take up these heavy metals, as such one could regard it in two ways – as a useful plant in cleaning up industrial sites, but also a plant whose fruit needs to be avoided if it has been grown in heavily polluted soil.

There is also a very positive way of looking at this property.  It is possible that tomatoes grown in unpolluted soil have a chelating ability on us humans, helping to remove mercury, lead and nickel from our systems.

Tomatoes grown in polluted water also have a knack of picking up bacteria.  Thus we can use the same argument.  Do not eat tomatoes that could have been near a contaminated water supply - cases of salmonella poisoning have been caused by this.  But on the other hand, if you know that the tomates you are eating are bacteria free, it may be they have an anti-bacterial effect on you! 

Method

There must be millions of ways to use tomatoes.  In soups, in stews, in pizzas, in savoury sauces for pasta, raw in salads. 

As marrows tend to be fairly plentiful when tomatoes are, roasted marrow and tomatoes cooked in olive oil with herbs and sea salt is delicious.

Various forms of dried tomato are also available these days in various stages of dryness!  All are delicious in their own ways and the semi-dried often come in olive oil with herbs added.

Chemical constituents

 

The following extraordinary long table was derived from Dr Duke's plant database.  The table itself shows the constituents of the fruit with its seeds.

The flower [without any green bits or stalk] contains – rather intriguingly, Adenosine, [as well as DIHYDROZEATIN, N(6)-ISOPENT-2-ENYL-ADENINE, TOMATINE, ZEATIN-GLUCOSIDE and ZEATIN-RIBOSIDE].  I have no idea whether the flower is edible and it is not worth the risk of trying it, if you don’t know the action of the other chemicals, but the presence of Adenosine is positive – it has a calming influence.

In the following list I have marked the constituents as follows:

 

 

Minerals - are marked in Blue.  There were both useful and unhelpful minerals in this specimen, for the reasons outlined above.  The needed minerals present were

 

which makes tomatoes a very useful food.  The only mineral needed but not present was: Chloride.

The unhelpful minerals in this specimen were aluminium [although there may be some uses in tiny amounts as a boost to the immune system], nickel, mercury, lithium, lead, silver, strontium, titanium, and zirconium.  Of these mercury, lead and nickel are unwanted, whereas the others may have a role in helping our gut flora that we are not aware of at the moment. 

Vitamins are marked in orange.  Those present include:

Tomatoes, at least this sample, do not appear to contain:

 

In Burma

Essential fatty acids are marked in green.  Tomatoes contain both types needed

  • ALA - α-Linolenic acid.
  • LA - Linoleic acid.

Essential amino acids  are marked in violet.  Tomatoes contain the following, all the essential amino acids are there:

  • Isoleucine
  • Lysine
  • Leucine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine
  • Histidine

Of the six amino acids considered conditionally essential in the human diet, tomatoes contain

  • arginine
  • glycine
  • proline
  • tyrosine.

Cysteine is not directly present, nor is glutamine, but precursor chemicals are.

Fruit and seed

 

 

1',2'-EPOXY-1',2'-DIHYDRO-BETA-EPSILON-PSEUDOCAROTENE

1',2'-EPOXY-1',2'-DIHYDRO-BETA-PSI-CAROTENE

1,2-EPOXY-1,2-DIHYDRO-PSI,PSI-CAROTENE

1-BUTYL-2-THIAZOL

1-O-FERULOYL-BETA-D-GLUCOSE

1-O-P-COUMAROYL-BETA-D-GLUCOSE

10,16-DIHYDROXY-DECANOIC-ACID

10,16-DIHYDROXY-HEXADECANOIC-ACID

16-HYDROXY-HEXADECANOIC-ACID

2-BUTANONE

2-PENTANONE

2-PROPANONE

24-(R)-ETHYL-LOPHENOL

24-METHYL-31-NOR-LANOST-9(11)-EN-3-BETA-OL

24-METHYL-LOPHENOL

24-METHYLENE-CYCLOARTANAL

31-NOR-LANOST-8-EN-3-BETA-OL

31-NOR-LANOST-9(11)-EN-3-BETA-OL

31-NORCYCLOARTENAL

4-ALPHA-24-DIMETHYL-CHOLESTA-7,24-DIEN-3-BETA-OL

4-ALPHA-METHYL-24-ETHYL-CHOLESTA-7,24-DIEN-3-BETA-OL

5,6-EPOXY-5,6-DIHYDRO-PSEUDO-PSEUDOCAROTENE

5-HYDROXYTRYPTAMINE

9,10,16-TRIHYDROXYHEXADECANOIC-ACID

9,10,18-TRIHYDROXY-OCTADECANOIC-ACID

ABSCISIC-ACID-1',4'-TRANS-DIOL

ACETALDEHYDE:

ACETIC-ACID

ACETONE

ALANINE 30 - 4,132 ppm

ALPHA-AMYRIN

ALPHA-CAPROLACTONE

ALPHA-IONENE

ALPHA-KETO-GLUTARIC-ACID

ALPHA-LINOLENIC-ACID 30 - 496 ppm

ALPHA-NONALACTONE

ALPHA-OCTALACTONE

ALPHA-OXOGLUTARIC-ACID

ALPHA-PINENE

ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL 7 - 143 ppm

ALUMINUM 0.3 - 1,700 ppm

ARABIC-ACID

ARGININE 1 - 3,637 ppm

ARSENIC 0.003 - 0.043 ppm

ASCORBIC-ACID 50 - 2,952 ppm

ASH 5,700 - 105,461 ppm

ASPARAGINE 300 ppm;

ASPARTIC-ACID 1,230 - 20,332 ppm

AUROXANTHIN

BARIUM 60 ppm;

BENZALDEHYDE

BENZYL-ALCOHOL

BETA-ALANINE 6 ppm;

BETA-AMYRIN

BETA-CAROTENE 7 - 113 ppm

BETA-IONENE

BETA-SITOSTEROL

BIOTIN

BORON 96 ppm;

BUTANOL-2-ON-3

BUTANOLS

BUTYROLACTONE

CADMIUM 0.005 - 1.7 ppm

CAFFEIC-ACID 6 ppm;

CAFFEIC-ACID-4-O-BETA-D-GLUCOSIDE

CALCIUM 60 - 2,400 ppm

CAMPESTEROL

CAPRYLIC-ACID

CARBOHYDRATES 43,400 - 717,400 ppm

CELLULASE

CELLULOSE

CERIUM 7 - 60 ppm

CHLORINE 510 ppm;

CHLOROGENIC-ACID 18 ppm

CHLOROPHYLL 3 - 30 ppm

CHLOROPHYLL-A

CHLOROPHYLL-B

CHROMIUM 3 ppm;

CINNAMALDEHYDE

CIS-3-HEXENOL-1 4 - 40 ppm

CIS-5'-BETA-PSEUDOCAROTENE

CIS-5'-EPSILON-PSEUDOCAROTENE

CIS-5'-NEUROSPORENE

CIS-5,CIS-5'-LYCOPENE 1 - 20 ppm

CIS-5-LYCOPENE 1 - 20 ppm

CIS-HEXEN-3-AL

CITRAL

CITRIC-ACID

CITROSTADIENOL

COBALT 1.4 ppm;

COPPER 0.4 - 100 ppm

CUTIN

CYCLOARTANOL

CYCLOEUCALENOL

CYCLOHEXANOL

CYSTINE 120 - 1,984 ppm

 

 

DAMASCENONE

DECADIEN-TRANS-2,TRANS-4-AL

DIACETYL

DIHYDROXYTARTARIC-ACID

EPOXY-5,6-IONENE

EPOXY-LUTEIN

ETHANOL

ETHYL-PHENOL

ETHYLENE

EUGENOL

FALCARINDIOL

FALCARINOL

FARNESAL

FARNESYL-ACETONE

FAT Fruit 1,330 - 47,441 ppm; Seed 150,000 - 250,000 ppm

FERULIC-ACID

FERULIC-ACID-O-BETA-D-GLUCOSIDE

FIBER 4,700 - 77,691 ppm

FLUORINE 0.02 - 1.7 ppm

FOLACIN 2 ppm;

FORMIC-ACID

FRUCTOSE 11,700 ppm;

FUMARIC-ACID

FURFURAL

GABA 220 - 480 ppm

GAMMA-CAROTENE

GERANYL-ACETONE

GIBBERELLINS

GLUCOSE 16,300 ppm;

GLUTAMIC-ACID 90 - 54,053 ppm

GLYCERIC-ACID

GLYCINE 23 - 3,637 ppm

GLYCOLIC-ACID

GLYOXAL

GRAMISTEROL

GUAIACOL

HEMICELLULOSE

HEPTADIEN-TRANS-2,CIS-4-AL

HEPTADIEN-TRANS-2,TRANS-4-AL

HEPTULOSE

HEXADIEN-TRANS-2-,TRANS-4-AL

HEXANOLS

HISTIDINE 30 - 2,149 ppm

HYDROCINNAMALDEHYDE

I-VALERALDEHYDE

I-VALERIC-ACID

IODINE

IRON 1 - 800 ppm

ISOAMYLOL 7 - 40 ppm

ISOLEUCINE 210 - 3,471 ppm

ISOVALERALDEHYDE 0.006 ppm;

JSGGALACTURONIC-ACID

KAEMPFEROL

KETOHEPTOSE

LACTIC-ACID

LANOSTEROL

LEAD 0.003 - 60 ppm

LEUCINE 330 - 5,455 ppm

LEUCINES 1 - 90 ppm

LINALOL

LINOLEIC-ACID 830 - 13,720 ppm

LINOLENIC-ACID

LITHIUM 0.28 - 0.68 ppm

LOPHENOL

LUPEOL

LUTEIN

LUTEIN-5,6-EPOXIDE

LUTEIN-EPOXIDE

LYCOPENE 1 - 20 ppm

LYCOPHYLL

LYCOXANTHIN

LYSINE 20 - 5,455 ppm

MAGNESIUM 70 - 6,000 ppm

MALIC-ACID

MANGANESE 0.6 - 100 ppm

MERCURY 0.001 - 0.002 ppm

METHANOL

METHIONINE 16 - 1,322 ppm

METHYL-2-BUTYRIC-ACID

METHYL-6-HEPTEN-5-ON-2

METHYL-GLYOXAL

METHYL-SALICYLATE

MEVALONIC-ACID 3 - 4 ppm

MOLYBDENUM 6 ppm;

MYRISTIC-ACID

N-DOTRIACONTANE

N-HENTRIACONTANE

N-HEXANOL

N-PENTANOL 7 - 40 ppm

N-TETRATRIACONTANE

N-TRITRIACONTANE

NARCOTINE

NARINGENIN

NEO-BETA-CAROTENE-B

NEO-BETA-CAROTENE-U

NEO-CHLOROGENIC-ACID

NEODYMIUM 2 - 30 ppm

NEOLYCOPENE-A

NEOLYCOPENE-B

NEOXANTHIN

NESTIGOGENIN

NEUROSPORINE

NIACIN 6 - 99 ppm

NICKEL 0.01 - 5 ppm

NITROGEN 1,300 - 23,330 ppm

NONACOSANE

O-CRESOL

O-HYDROXY-ACETOPHENONE

OBTUSIFOLIOL

OLEIC-ACID 310 - 5,124 ppm

OXALIC-ACID 36 - 263 ppm

P-COUMARIC-ACID

P-COUMARIC-ACID-O-BETA-D-GLUCOSIDE

P-HYDROXYBENZALDEHYDE

PALMITIC-ACID 210 - 3,471 ppm

PALMITOLEIC-ACID 10 - 165 ppm

PANTOTHENIC-ACID 1 - 61 ppm

PECTIN 100 - 31,000 ppm

PECTINESTERASE

PENTANOLS

PENTEN-1-OL-3

PHENOL

PHENOLICS 27 - 570 ppm

PHENYL-2-ETHANOL

PHENYL-ACETALDEHYDE

PHENYLACETONITRILE

PHENYLALANINE 72 - 3,801 ppm

PHOSPHORUS 110 - 8,400 ppm

PHYTOENE

PHYTOENE-1,2-OXIDE

PHYTOFLUENE

PHYTOSTEROLS 70 - 1,157 ppm

PIPECOLIC-ACID

POLYGALACTURONASE

POTASSIUM 780 - 58,800 ppm

PROLINE 170 - 2,810 ppm

PROLYCOPENE

PROPANOLS

PROPIONIC-ACID

PROTEIN 8,790 - 148,935 ppm

PROTOPECTIN 11,700 - 24,200 ppm

PYRUVIC-ACID

QUERCETIN

QUERCETIN-3-O-RHAMNOSIDE

QUERCITRIN

RIBOFLAVIN 1 - 8 ppm

RISHITIN

RUBIDIUM 0.3 - 22 ppm

RUTIN 24,000 ppm;

RUTINOSIDE

S-METHYL-METHIONINE 16 - 35 ppm

SALICYLALDEHYDE

SELENIUM 0.001 - 0.034 ppm

SERINE 57 - 3,967 ppm

SILICON

SILVER 1.4 ppm;

SODIUM 10 - 6,600 ppm

SOLANINE

SQUALENE

STARCH 120 - 10,000 ppm

STEARIC-ACID 80 - 1,322 ppm

STIGMASTEROL

STRONTIUM 140 ppm;

SUCCINIC-ACID

SUCROSE

SUGARS 15,000 - 45,000 ppm

SULFUR 107 - 2,330 ppm

TARTARIC-ACID

THIAMIN 1 - 10 ppm

THREONINE 65 - 3,637 ppm

TITANIUM 140 ppm;

TOMATIDINE

TOMATOSIDE-A

TRANS-ACONITIC-ACID

TRIACONTANE

TRIMETHYL-2,6,6-HYDROXY-2-CYCLOHEXANONE

TRYPTAMINE

TRYPTOPHAN 1 - 1,157 ppm

TYRAMINE

TYROSINE 38 - 2,479 ppm

VALINE 1 - 3,801 ppm

VANADIUM 6 ppm;

VIOLAXANTHIN

VIT-B-6   9 ppm;

WATER 910,000 - 982,000 ppm

XANTHOPHYLL

YTTRIUM 6 ppm;

ZEATIN

ZEAXANTHIN

ZETA-CAROTENE

ZINC 1 - 120 ppm

ZIRCONIUM 4 ppm

Overall tomatoes are a very important food.  If you give a child spaghetti bolognese, for example, with plenty of tomatoes, red meat, onions, fresh herbs and cheese, you are giving them a very balanced and nutritious meal.  This is why the so called Mediterranean diet is so healthy one suspects - lots of tomatoes!!

 

 

Related observations