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US Army Medical Course MD0714-100 - Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

US Army Medical Course MD0714-100 - Fresh Fruits and Vegetables


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Published by: Georges on Nov 24, 2008
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Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family, as do eggplants, chili peppers, and
potatoes. (See Appendix C.) Botanically, tomatoes are considered fruits. In the fruit



category, they are considered berries, since they are pulpy and contain one or more
seeds that are not stones. The different varieties of tomatoes are: field-grown vine
pink, also called vine-ripened (no picture), field-grown mature green (no picture), plum
type (picture 30f), cherry type (pictures 30c, 30d), hydroponic (picture 30e), and
greenhouse (picture 30e).

a. Cherry Tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes (pictures 30c, 30d) are a comparatively
high-value crop, with Red Cherry Large being the most popular variety. These
tomatoes may grow as large as 2 inches in diameter, but are more often 1 to 1-1/2
inches. They may or may not be marketed with the stem attached.

b. Hydroponic Tomatoes. Hydroponic tomatoes (picture 30e) are grown in
nutrient solutions with or without an inert medium such as soil to provide mechanical
support. They are very similar in appearance to regular salad tomatoes (picture 30b)
but are marketed with a stick-on label.

c. Vine-Ripened Tomatoes. Tomatoes are one of the fruits and vegetables
that gain weight as they mature. Best flavor usually comes from home-grown local
tomatoes, since they are the freshest and are fully vine-ripened. The field-grown vine
pink is preferable for shipping, since it withstands handling better, and it closely
approximates vine-ripened taste.

d. Quality. Quality is based on four primary factors.

(1) Color or general appearance.

(2) Firmness and weight of the fruit relative to size.

(3) Internal appearance when sliced.

(4) Flavor.

NOTE: As for size, a small or large tomato may be of equal quality, the choice being
a matter of individual preference.

e. Maturity. Consumers often complain that the available tomatoes lack taste.
This complaint is probably accurate and may be caused by immaturity, improper
handling, and/or other problems. Maturity should not be confused with color (ripeness).
Tomatoes reach full maturity (development) several days before showing any outward
signs of pink or red color. Therefore, a fully mature tomato may be totally green in
color. To test for maturity, the Veterinary Food Inspection Specialist should slice a
tomato in half cross-sectional. If the seeds are white and can be readily cut with a knife,
the tomato is not mature. A jellylike substance, locular jelly, should be present in two or
more of the pockets around the seeds if the tomato is mature.



f. Good Quality. Good quality tomatoes are well-formed, smooth, well-ripened,
and reasonably free from blemishes. Softness in conjunction with rich, red color is
usually an indication of ripeness. If less than fully ripe tomatoes are desired, the
veterinary food inspection specialist should check for firm texture and color ranging from
pink to light red.

g. Storage Temperature. Tomatoes should not be refrigerated at all, especially
prior to reaching total ripeness. Tomatoes that are not fully ripened will ripen
satisfactorily at room temperature. The room should have good air circulation and
desirable relative humidity. Once ripened, tomatoes can be held at 50o

F or lower, if

necessary (figure 3-12).

Figure 3-12. Suggested 3-69 storage temperature for tomatoes. .



h. Poor Quality. Poor quality tomatoes may be overripe and bruised. Such
tomatoes are soft and watery. Tomatoes with sunburn or with green or yellow color
near the stem scar are also considered poor quality. Also undesirable are growth
cracks, which are deep cracks around the stem scar, decayed fruit, which will have soft,
water-soaked spots, depressed areas, or surface mold, and excessive puffiness. (See
figure 3-13).

Figure 3-13. Tomato defect limitations for puffiness and growth cracks.



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