Growing gorgeous tomatoes for Gracie
My husband does not like tomatoes. If I would had known that 30 years ago before I married him, I would have thought twice. Not really, but at times not liking tomatoes is akin to turning down apple pie and ice cream; it is just not done.
Throughout the years I have purchased tomatoes, grown tomatoes and been the recipient of tomatoes from friends. I have used tomatoes as garnish, topped with cheese, grilled, made sauces and offered them eaten plain. My dear Sweetheart appeases me at times and asks for a sliver of succulent red tomato on his bacon and lettuce sandwich only to watch him let it slip out the back of his sandwich onto the plate.
Tomatoes are naturally low in sodium but high in potassium. They are low in calories, especially low in fat. They are excellent sources of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins.
Naturally, I would want my husband to eat these delectable and versatile vegetables. The antioxidants in tomatoes are protective against cancers including colon, prostate, breast, lung and pancreatic tumors.
Lycopene, a unique antioxidant, joins forces with other substances in the body to protect cells from skin damage and cancer. Zeaxanthin, another helpful compound found in tomatoes, protects eyes from age related macular damage and aids vision.
Tomatoes are rich in Vitamins A and C which help the body fight off harmful infections and maintain healthy mucus membranes and bone health. They are power packed vegetables that benefit the entire body.
And yet, You Know Who will not touch a tomato. Earlier this year I planted eight tomato plants. Four of them are cherry tomatoes, and there are two varieties of larger tomatoes in my backyard.
Almost daily Hubby has watched me fuss over those plants, fertilize them, weed out the invaders, water them during the drought and now finally pick beauties off the vines. When I cooked some bacon for delectable sandwiches I still got his wrinkled nose and a hesitant acceptance of my harvest. He left his wafer thin uneaten tomato on his plate.
A few years ago we were discussing earth-shattering delicate discoveries concerning the longevity of our triple decade marriage and I asked him why he did not like tomatoes. Obviously, I take this issue very personally.
His answer surprised me, but then again it didn’t. He replied with a screwed-up face that seemed to border between pain and rejection. His explanation stemmed from his mother. Of course, I knew it all along, mother-in-laws can mess up a perfectly fine husband without even being aware.
The grounds for my sweetheart’s disdain of tomatoes were rooted in his mother’s habit of storing tomatoes in the refrigerator. I explained to him that temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit destroyed an enzyme in tomatoes that controls the sweetness and texture of ripe tomatoes.
No wonder You Know Who dislikes tomatoes, his mom kept them in the refrigerator. I will concede to his dislike of one of my favorite foods. After 30 years of married bliss, I wouldn’t trade him for all the tomatoes in South Jersey or Italy.
My granddaughter, Gracie, on the other hand, can stand in my garden and pop those cherry tomatoes in her mouth like M&Ms. So my tomato obsession is off You Know Who. I will grow them for Gracie.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator and a registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Aultman-Orrville Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330–684-4776.