Tomatoes are a fruit, scientifically speaking, rich in the cancer-fighting phytonutrient lycopene. It’s lycopene that gives tomatoes their vibrant, red color and the antioxidant properties that the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) reports may help protect against cancers of the breast, lung, endometrium and, particularly, prostate.
According to the AICR, eating tomatoes in cooked forms may also increase their cancer-fighting value. Their lycopene becomes more easily absorbed by the body through cooking, making canned tomatoes a healthy option, as they are heated during the canning process. Plus, this summer fruit is so tasty and versatile in the kitchen that we may need a winter fix, made possible through canning.
When choosing canned tomatoes and paste, we recommend organic brands such as Muir Glen that have no added sugar and are low in sodium. Canned tomatoes are a great substitute for the fresh kind in sauces, chili and stews and make a useful staple to keep in your pantry. Buy canned, whole tomatoes when you can, and keep a couple of small cans of tomato paste on hand to add quick doses of flavor.
In the wintertime, when tomatoes are out of season, use canned tomatoes for cooked recipes that call for fresh ones, such as Cook for Your Life’s buttery Tomato Risotto or classic soup recipes like our Provençal Tomato Soup or Grandma’s Minestrone. However, only use canned tomatoes in recipes where they are to be cooked. The canned kinds are no substitute for fresh-sliced tomatoes in salads.