Sometimes we get so caught up in filling our garden with red tomatoes that we forget there are other colours. No devoted gardener should ever resist trying orange, yellow, black and yes even green tomatoes that stay green or fade to a pale-olive colour when they’re ripe. Besides all this, there are long keeper tomatoes that are slow to ripen and can extend the homegrown tomato season well into the new year. Mix and match and plan a multi-coloured crop for next year.
Gardeners! Are you aware that tomatoes are full of lycopene, a potent antioxidant? It’s particularly abundant in red and darkcoloured varieties. Even more lycopene is released when tomatoes are stewed with a bit of canola, sunflower, walnut or olive oil added. Lycopene supplements in pill form are also available at many health and natural food stores.
Now comes word on current research about another pill made from tomatoes. Preliminary trials in England suggest the pill, known as Ateronon, contains a version of the tomato phytonutrient lycopene. A member of the British Heart Foundation noted that Ateronon is still undergoing further clinical studies.
There’s a strong suggestion this tomato pill may well be the future answer to treat symptoms of heart disease, high cholesterol, clogged arteries and help prevent many forms of cancer. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a drop in the number of people experiencing heart attacks, strokes and other health issues related to arterial damage? The potential impact is enormous.
But why wait ’til then when you can get lots of lycopene from homegrown tomatoes. My song “O It Must Be the Tomatoes” promotes lycopene as extremely beneficial in maintaining prostate health and wellness among men.
You’ve all heard of the 100-mile diet. Well, there’s the Prairie-person diet. It’s strong on Canadian-grown fruits such as apples, blueberries, cherries, gooseberries, grapes, raspberries, strawberries and saskatoons. On the veggie and grain side, consuming domestic beans, barley, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, flaxseed, garlic, onions, parsnips, potatoes, squash, sunflower seeds, tomatoes and leafy greens such as kale and spinach are promoted. Either canola, flax, hemp seed and sunflower are recommended as primary oil sources.
ORANGE TOMAT OES
…are low acid and quite tolerable for anyone who finds some red varieties too acidic. A gardener acquaintance tells me he sprinkles his red tomato slices and stewed tomatoes with a few grains of white sugar. He says, “I like them that way instead of with salt and pepper. It takes away the acidic edge for me.”
Now let’s take a peek at some orange tomato names and brief descriptions. Orange Blossom is large (170 grams/six ounces) and globe shaped with a mild flavour. It’s not totally bland, but balanced with slight acidity and nice texture. Fruits ripen in two months from setting out transplants. Staking is not required.
Golden Queen (a. k. a. Jubilee) is a meaty, low-acid heirloom that needs staking. Tomatoes are more yellow than orange. Nicely shaped fruits with thick walls start to produce by mid-season with a very mild, pleasing taste. Hybrid Goldmine is a large-fruited variety that often weighs half a pound (225 grams) and is very popular because of its distinct taste, despite less acid.
I’ve been thumbing through some mail from last spring. Caroline Frankl of 2406 Heseltine Rd., Apt. 507, Regina, Sask. S4V 1N9 would like to get some vegetable marrow seeds. She writes: “I have tried to no avail. Any idea where I might get some?” Perhaps one of my Grainews readers who harvested their own marrow seed this fall can help Caroline out.
Ruth Oliver of Fleming, Sask., planted a Valiant grapevine a few years ago. “I’ve been able to make a double batch of grape jelly. I just love the flavour as does our family who each get a jar,” she writes.
Next month, many of us will be doing some toasting. A few of my in-laws are of Danish heritage. I have been among them on a number of occasions and wondered what it meant when someone stood up and said, “Skaal.”
Each letter in the Danish toast stands for something. The Danish word for health starts with an “s,” love begins with “k,” old age with “a,” and “a,” also stands for many talents. The Danish word for luck starts with an “l” as does the English word. When put together, these letters spell s-k-a-a-l.
So when a Dane raises his glass and toasts a friend, he means: “Here’s to your health and to your love; may your old age be happy; may you have many talents and may you have good luck. Add to that, we’ve got Christmas and New Year 2010 in the not-so-distant future and a brand new gardening season to anticipate.
Did you know that eating a daily handful of raw sunflower seeds is one of the top foods to fight depression? Our immune system is one of the most complex aspects of human anatomy. It never rests. There are many ways to skip sick days and strengthen immunity at the same time. One of the best is to sleep more for better health. During deep, restful sleep the body releases powerful immune-enhancing compounds such as interferon. Munching on two or three walnuts or taking a half-teaspoon of walnut oil with a drink of milk an hour or two before bedtime is almost a sure guarantee for a good night’s sleep.
IF MY BODY WERE A CAR
A longtime friend sent the following to me: If my body were a car, this is the time I would be thinking about trading it in for a new model. I’ve got bumps and dents and scratches in my finish and my paint job is getting a little dull, but that’s not the worst of it. My traction is not as graceful as it once was. I slip and slide and skid and bump into things even in the best of weather. My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins. It takes me hours to reach my maximum speed. My fuel rate burns inefficiently and my air filtering tonsils have been removed. But here’s the worst of it: Almost every time I sneeze, cough or sputter, either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires!
This is Ted Meseyton, the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. May abundance in the garden be your constant companion. May your harvest be more bountiful than all the stars in the night sky and may you live more abundantly than the day before. My e-mail address is [email protected]