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HappyHealthy Newsletter: Tomatoes

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Publication Number: P3611
View as PDF: P3611.pdf

Did you know that tomatoes are a fruit? The word means “something round and plump.” The tomato is the most popular garden vegetable in Mississippi. Red, green, orange, and yellow tomatoes come in many shapes and sizes. The four main types of tomatoes are cherry, plum, slicing, and beefsteak. They also have great names such as Better Boy, Big Boy, Fantastic, and Sweet 100! Tomatoes are loaded with nutrients that keep you healthy!


  • A ripe tomato will be red and have a sweet smell.
  • Choose tomatoes that are smooth, bright, shiny, and firm.
  • Avoid tomatoes with bruises and soft spots that can spoil quickly.


  • Store tomatoes on the countertop away from sunlight. Use within 1 week.
  • Extra tomatoes can be frozen if you can’t use them before they spoil.
  • Freeze fresh tomatoes whole, sliced, or chopped. They can be frozen raw or blanched.
    • Wash tomatoes in clean water and let them dry.
    • Cut away the stem scar.
    • Place the tomatoes on cookie sheets or put the tomatoes into freezer bags and freeze.


  • Wash tomatoes in cold water and cut out the stem.
  • Cut tomatoes crosswise into slices or from end to end for wedges.
  • To peel tomatoes:
    • Cut an “X” in the blossom ends.
    • Lower tomatoes into boiling water for 15 to 30 seconds.
    • Remove and place in ice water to cool.
    • Peel the skin off using a knife, starting with the cut area.

Children can help:

  • In the garden preparing the soil, planting, weeding, and harvesting.
  • Select ripe tomatoes at a farmers market or local grocery produce section.
  • Prepare tomatoes by washing, slicing, dicing, or chopping.

Chickpeas and Tomatoes


  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 11/4 cups onion, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled, and cut into tiny pieces
  • 1 can low-sodium chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) (about 15 ounces)
  • 3 cups low-sodium crushed or diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 11/2 teaspoons ground cumin


  1. Wash your hands well with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.
  2. Turn the eye of the stove to medium-high.
  3. Pre-heat a medium pot.
  4. Add the oil to the pot. Add the onion. Stir as the onion cooks. Cook until the onion is soft, but not brown.
  5. Add the garlic to the pot. Stir and cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Open the can of chickpeas. Drain off the liquid.
  7. Rinse the chickpeas with cool water. Rinse them in the can or using a colander. Pour off the water.
  8. Add the chickpeas to the pot. Add the tomatoes and their juice. Then add the water, ginger, chili powder, and cumin.
  9. Stir gently to mix all the ingredients. Keep cooking until the chickpea mixture comes to a boil.
  10. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to medium. Let the chickpeas simmer, gently bubbling, for about 10 minutes. Do not put a cover on the pot.
  11. Cook until there is only enough liquid in the pot to cover the bottom. Then the chickpeas are ready.
  12. Serve the chickpeas while they are hot. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Learn more

  • To learn more about storing and cutting tomatoes, visit HappyHealthy.MS and click on Tips and Videos.
    • Chop, Slice, Dice, Mince, Peel, and Crush
    • How to Store Fruits and Vegetables

happy healthy

@happy healthyms

happy healthyms


Publication 3611 (POD-09-21)

By Dottie Kenda, Mississippi State University Extension Service.

This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Department: Nutrition Education
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