Food Profile - Tomatoes

Sometimes, what we have gone all the way to find in a place called Sokoto, is right there in our Sokoto (trousers)..... Nigerian word of wisdom...

This essentially means we should not take for granted what is immediately available and accessible us. Rather than find treasure in things/places so far fetched, we should be looking inwards to use those things readily available to us, and which we are familiar with.

I recently encountered a research document which re-highlighted the wonderful nutritional benefits of tomatoes, which lit up my eyes in glee.... Our most humble tomatoes, one of the most commonly eaten veg/fruits.... is actually a super-food, packed load with vitamins, minerals and above all, antioxidants.

This made me really excited and reduced my constant worry about whether the typical Nigerian is able to eat a healthy nutritious diet on Nigeria food.

You see, in Nigerian cooking, tomatoes are a frequently used food ingredient. Though not usually eaten in its fresh/raw form, it is included in virtually every type of stew/soup made on a daily basis. It is also added to eggs, rice or yam dishes, to make pottages etc. And of course, sliced tomatoes and onions are the perfect accompaniment to suya bbq...!

Nutritional Data (100g of raw fresh tomatoes) 
Calories - 18kcal
Fat - 0.2g
Carb - 3.9g (including sugars)
Protein - 0.9g
Fibre - 1.2g
Vitamins: A, C B6
Minerals: Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium

Nutritionally, you can get the most out of tomatoes when eaten raw. Juicing them is also a great way to eat them or adding them to your smoothies. They can also be blended or added whole to stews and soups. And of course, tomatoes can be sliced or chopped and added to a different range of salads, salsas, and all manner of foods.

In particular, I think juicing is a really great way to enjoy tomatoes.

Tips on Juicing Tomatoes:
* Choose very ripe tomatoes because they are at their sweetest and contain more juice

* It helps to strain the juice using a fine sieve, and makes it easier to drink

* Add other ingredients like scent leaves, to provide some flavour to the juice

* From experience, adding some pineapple juice as a sweetener, works better than adding sugar or other sweeteners.

* If you are making tomato juice at home, its best to make some and consume immediately. Storing tomato juice for more than a day, decreases its appeal.

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