Sweet Tangerine Heirloom Tomatoes
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|Food Buzz: History of Tomatoes|
The Sweet Tangerine tomato is a medium to large sized heirloom variety, averaging six to eight ounces in weight, with thin smooth skin and a glowing orange color. It is referred to as a beefsteak-type tomato because of its globe shape and dense, meaty texture. It has a high flesh-to-juice ratio and its narrow seed pockets have minimal seeds. Its flesh has a low to moderate acid level and a complex tangy yet sweet flavor. The high-yielding, regular-leaf Sweet Tangerine tomato plant is a determinate variety, characterized by its short vines and compact growing habit, reaching an average height of four or five feet. Also known as “bush” varieties, determinate tomatoes generally have a heavy fruit set over a relatively short period of time, and many, like the Sweet Tangerine, have a tendency to mature and be ready for harvest early. Once fruit sets on the terminal bud, the plant stops growing and the fruit commonly ripens around the same time, after which the plant will die back. The Sweet Tangerine tomato plant is very disease resistant and drought tolerant, and reportedly does well in hot and humid temperatures, but is a good choice for cooler and shorter growing seasons as well.
Sweet Tangerine tomatoes are available in the summer and fall.
The Sweet Tangerine, like all tomatoes, is a member of the Solanaceae family alongside the potato and eggplant. Its botanical name is Solanum lycopersicum 'Sweet Tangerine'. Tomatoes used to be classified under the botanical name Lycopersicon esculentum, but modern research has provided evidence showing that tomatoes are firmly situated in the genus Solanum. The Sweet Tangerine is considered an heirloom even though it is a more recent addition to the market.
In a recent study led by the USDA, it was found that orange colored tomatoes, like the Sweet Tangerine, are a better source of the powerful antioxidant, lycopene, than red tomatoes because of the different forms of lycopene that the two tomato types provide. Research is showing that the body more efficiently absorbs the lycopene in orange tomatoes than that of red tomatoes. Lycopene is linked to eye and heart health, and it is also being studied for its uses in preventing some types of cancer. In addition to their antioxidant-rich content, tomatoes are also a great source of vitamins A and C, folic acid, potassium and iron.
The beefsteak-style Sweet Tangerine tomato is great for slicing, canning, and fresh eating. Add them to salads, sandwiches, and burgers, or serve sliced with onion, olive oil and fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, or oregano. They are also great for slow roasting and grilling. Store tomatoes at room temperature away from direct sunlight until ripe, after which refrigeration can slow the process of decay.
Tomatoes are the most widely grown fruit in the home gardens of America, but it wasn’t until the mid 1800s that the tomato became such a staple in the United States. Although they were grown throughout pre-Civil War America, and several Native American tribes and the Creoles of New Orleans had already had a long history of their use, tomatoes were actually considered to be poisonous by most Americans, perhaps because they are in the Solanaceae family, which includes deadly nightshades and other poisonous plants. Today they are second only to potatoes in consumption of fruits and vegetables in the United States, and with an increased interest in old varieties, seed companies are growing heirloom seeds, like the Sweet Tangerine, for specialty catalogues and the selection of heirloom seeds available in America is continuously growing.
The Sweet Tangerine is believed to have originated in the United States and been introduced by Burpee Seeds. The Sweet Tangerine tomato plant has been said to grow well in the state of California and several places along the Eastern Coast of the United States, as well as in the states of Hawaii, Michigan, and Alabama.
Recipes that include Sweet Tangerine Heirloom Tomatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.
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