Zebra tomatoes are a species of tomato recognised in the name ‘Green Zebra’. Green Zebra is the name given to the business owned by Paul and Wendy Smith in Albury, NSW.

Green Zebra specialises in home-made pasta, pasta sauce and quality products. Paul and Wendy are adamant in using, producing and sourcing quality fresh and local produce. When Paul tweeted wanting to know more about nutrients lost after picking I thought I would write this news article.

Majority of the research agrees that water soluble vitamins (i.e. Vitamin C, folic acid, B vitamins) are lost as soon as a particular food is harvested. Further degradation occurs with heat treatment, storage, and irradiation ( Rodriguez- Amaya, 2003). In fact processing techniques such as heat treatments can see a loss of 1/3-1/2 of the amounts of Vitamin C, A, B1, B2 in various foods. Freezing looses approximately 15-20% of Vitamin C content in various foods.

The vitality of your food is highest from the time of picking. Although vitamin, mineral and antioxidant components vary from climate, soils and picking stages, there is one particular trend in the research that exists.

Phytonutrients which exhibit a beneficial property to the body are higher in organic foods and highest at the time of picking ,given ripened qualities, ( Perkins- Veazie , P and Lester, G, 2008).

Phytonutrients help our body deal with daily toxins, support our immune systems and decrease inflammation whilst playing various beneficial roles in the body ( Kidd, 2009).

It could also be said that hormesis or hormetics may occur with organic vegetables and herbs. The exposure to a particular environmental stress (such as natural stress in a permaculture environment) encourages the plant to produce chemicals or stress coping chemicals in order to thrive. This is then passed to us through organic foods, providing beneficial qualities. It could also be applied to the negative if those stressors involved had an adverse effect on the human body (i.e. animal stress hormones and pesticide residue).

The quality of our food is the most important if we want to survive well.

Arias et al, 2009 showed vine ripened tomatoes to have significantly more lycopene, beta-carotene (Vitamin A precursor). Vitamin A is a known antioxidant and is involved in numerous reactions in the body including supporting the immune system, eye health and liver function ( Gropper et al, 2008). Carotenoids (orange component in carrots, pumpkin, tomatoes etc) are lost rapidly from time of picking ( Rodriguez- Amaya, 2003).

Similarly Vanamal et al, 2005 showed grape-fruits with reduced d-limonene,myrcene and lycopene after 6 days harvest, irradiation and freeze drying. Lycopene is a well known phytonutrient which supports healthy prostate, acts as an anti-oxidant and is beneficial for our skin. Myrcene is similar. D-Limonene is a volatile oil exhibiting anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities. Lester et al, 2007 also showed organic red grapefruit being higher in Vitamin C and lower in nitrates.

Organic blueberries in a study by Wang et al, 2008 showed significant increase in phytonutrients such as phenolics and anthocynains. These phytonutrients play a role in decreasing inflammation and quenching free radicals ( Ou et al, 2002).

Therefore, food is most beneficial to the human body as fresh and as toxin free as possible.

Green Zebra

References


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