During the last few years tomatoes have been gaining ground as one of the healthiest foods that can be grown in the garden. They contain lots of vitamin C, have very few calories and are a rich source of lycopene.
Lycopene, a nutrient produced by tomatoes and other red colored vegetables, has been found to be an antioxidant that helps people resist certain diseases and health disorders. Maybe you have seen some ketchup labels extolling the virtues of lycopene.
Until recently red tomatoes were thought to deliver the highest amounts of lycopene. Now according to a report published in the February issue of USDA Agricultural Research Magazine, preliminary research has shown that an orange colored heirloom tomato called ‘Tangerine’ actually has more usable lycopene than the typical red tomato.
The difference seems to be in the different types of lycopene produced by red vs. Tangerine tomatoes. The lycopene in the Tangerine variety is of a form that is more easily absorbed by our bodies.
It sounds like ‘Tangerine’ was the only orange colored variety tested in this study. It remains to be seen if other orange colored varieties produce similar results.
I’m sure there will be a run on Tangerine tomato seeds this spring, so it may be a good idea to get your order in early. Another good thing about this variety is that like most old heirloom varieties it is not a hybrid. Seeds saved from these tomatoes will come back true to type year after year.