Benefits of red produce

Red produce provides essential nutrients.

Consuming red fruits and vegetables helps maintain a healthy heart, urinary tract, increases memory functions and is being studied to see if they help lower the risk of certain cancers. Red produce is a rich source of lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant and not a vitamin A producing carotenoid. Carotenoids coincidentally give red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables their color which helps the body produce vitamin A. The highest source of lycopene is in a tomato, but watermelon, apricots and guavas also contain a high amount.

Michigan State University Extension recommends the recipe below is a great way to take advantage of the benefits of eating red. Both tomatoes and strawberries are used in this simple jam recipe.

Tomato and strawberry jamTOMATO AND STRAWBERRY JAM


4 cups diced, ripe tomatoes (approximately one pound)

1.5 cups chopped strawberries

1 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


Place the diced tomatoes in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the berries, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine and return to a simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and has the consistency of loose jam. Stir in the lemon juice and cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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