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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.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 large tomato
  • ¼ medium onion (optional)
  • ¼ cup HappyHealthy Italian Dressing
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wash and cut cucumber into bite-size pieces; add to mixing bowl.
  • Wash and cut tomato into bite-size pieces; add to mixing bowl.
  • Peel and chop onion into small pieces; add to mixing bowl.
  • Add dressing, salt, and pepper to the mixing bowl. Stir all ingredients with a wooden spoon. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Baked Tomatoes

  • 4 small or 2 large tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Wash your hands well with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wash tomatoes and cut into thick slices, about 1 inch thick.
  • In a small bowl, add oregano, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Stir to mix.
  • Place tomato slices on a baking sheet. Top each tomato slice with seasonings and cheese. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • 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

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Publication 3611 (POD-04-24)

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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Regional Registered Dietitian

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