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Cherry tomato nutrition facts

Deliciously sweet, juicy, cherry tomatoes are small, cherry-sized fruits having distinct bright colors and pleasant flavor which distinguish them from other tomato sub types. These tiny berries are one of the most sought-after for their vividly bright and attractive colors, be it cooked in the dishes or raw in salads.

Botanically, cherry tomatoes belong to the same Solanaceae or nightshade family of plants, which also include chili peppers, potato and eggplants. It thought to have originated in the Central America from the wild tomato cultivars.

Botanical name: Solanum lycopersicum L. var. Cerasiforme.

cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes. Courtesy: Tim Sackton

Cherry tomato is a warm-weather plant; while, bush types usually are annuals, vine types (indeterminate -pole type) are perennial climbers unless destroyed by lack of nutrition support or attacked by high frost conditions at any stage of growth.

Clay and loam soils provide ideal conditions for plentiful crops. In case of vine type their long, climbing "indeterminate" stems need support of stakes for proper growth.

Fruits develop from flower ovaries (like berries); either bilocular or multilocular, measuring around 2-3 cm across. Many heirloom and hybrid varieties in different colors are cultivated for their sweet "tomato flavored", small, round to oval berries.

Harvesting is done by hand at maturity after about 80 to 110 days after planting. In vine -indeterminate types, harvesting continue for 70 to 120 days or longer; picked 1-3 times per week.

Health benefits of Cherry tomato

  • Cherry tomatoes hold same claories as regular, large tomatoes; 18 calories per 100g.

  • Despite being very low in calories and fat, they are excellent sources of antioxidants, dietary-fiber, minerals, and vitamins.

  • Tomatoes, including cherries, along with olives and fish are basis of the health-benefiting Mediterranean diet.

  • Cherries are fine sources of antioxidants including lycopene, zea-xanthin, cryptoxanthin, and α and β-carotenes.

  • Lycopene, a flavonoid antioxidant, is a unique phytochemical compound found in the tomatoes. Red cherry tomatoes tend to possess more of this antioxidant. Together with carotenoids, lycopene may decrease the risk of certain cancers and heart disease and also help to keep the immune system healthy. through scavenging harmful oxygen-free radicals. Studies show that lycopene protects the skin from ultra-violet (UV) rays and thus offers some defence against skin cancer.

  • Zea-xanthin is another flavonoid compound present abundantly in cherry tomatoes. Zeaxanthin helps protect eyes from "age-related macular related macular disease" (ARMD) in the older adults by filtering harmful ultra-violet rays.
  • Cherry tomatoes are excellent sources of vitamin-A; 100g provides 833 IU (28% daily recommended levels). Together with flavonoid antioxidants such as α and ß-carotenes, xanthins and lutein, vitamin-A plays a major role as antioxidant, help maintain healthy mucosa and skin. Consumption of natural food items rich in flavonoids has been found to help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

  • Further, these tiny berries are vary good source of antioxidant vitamin-C (provide 21% of recommended daily levels per 100 g); consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals.

  • Fresh cherry tomato is very rich in potassium. 100 g contain 237 mg of potassium and just 5 mg of sodium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure caused by sodium.

  • Moreover, they compose healthy levels of B-complex vitamins such as folates, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin as well some essential minerals like iron, calcium, manganese and other trace elements. On account of their versatile health giving qualities, nutrition scientists recommend them in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction diet programs.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Cherry tomato, red, ripe, raw, Nutrition value per 100 g. (Source: USDA National Nutrient database)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 18 Kcal 1%
Carbohydrates 3.9 g 3%
Protein 0.9 g 1.6%
Total Fat 0.2 g 0.7%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g 3%
Vitamins
Folates 15 μg 4%
Niacin 0.594 mg 4%
Pyridoxine 0.080 mg 6%
Thiamin 0.037 mg 3%
Vitamin A 833 IU 28%
Vitamin C 13 mg 21.5%
Vitamin E 0.54 mg 4%
Vitamin K 7.9 μg 6.5%
Electrolytes
Sodium 5 mg >1%
Potassium 237 mg 5%
Minerals
Calcium 10 mg 1%
Iron 0.3 mg 4%
Magnesium 11 mg 3%
Manganese 0.15 mg 6.5%
Phosphorus 24 mg 3%
Zinc 0.17 mg 1.5%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß 449 μg --
Carotene-α 101 μg --
Lutein-zeaxanthin 123 μg --
Lycopene 2573 μg --


Selection and storage

You can buy fresh cherry tomatoes all around the year in supermarkets and grocery stores. Choose bright, intact cherry tomatoes without cracks or wrinkles, firm but yielding to slight pressure. Avoid soft, spotted or damaged ones.

At room temperature, fresh cherry tomatoes stay well for 2-3 days, away from sunlight. Do not wash them until using. If not using for immediate use, store them in the fridge for extended shelf-life. For better flavor and rich taste, place them at room temperature for about 30 min before eating.


Preparation and serving methods

Wash in cold water and mop dry using a paper towel. Remove caps.

To prepare, remove top calyx (caps). Unlike in large tomato variants, many prefer using whole cherry tomatoes in dishes and salads. If you still prefer sliced, cut them into halves or cubes.

cherry tomatoes-quiche
Quiche-cherry tomatoes, spinach and and goat cheese
Courtesy: Saraha & Jason

Here are some serving tips:

  • Cherry tomatoes generally preferred in salads and gentle stir-fries especially in Mediterranean, Greek, Italian cuisines.

  • Cherry tomato can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw, ripe cherries can be enjoyed out of hand in a way like table grapes.

  • Cherry tomatoes dressed with vinaigrette relished in hors d'oeuvre (appetizer) and sandwiches.

  • They can make dishes look vibrant and chefs always prefer them as to add special decorative effect in dishes.

  • They complement well with other vegetables like brussel sprouts, olives, bell peppers and eggplant

  • .
  • They also perfect accompaniment to fish, beef, chicken veal, or eggs.

  • Popular as pomodoro ciliegino, cherries commonly featured in pizzas, quiche, tarts, and salads in the Italian cuisine.


Safety profile

Allergy/hypersensitivity reactions to cherry tomatoes are relatively rare to occur. However, it may sometimes occur in sensitive individuals with symptoms like itching skin and eyes, runny nose, and gastrointestinal disturbances like stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. (Medical Disclaimer).



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Further reading:

  1. Department of Horticulture- Purdue University Cooperative extension service. (Link opens in new window).

  2. USDA National Nutrient Database.

  3. Lycopene extract.




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