Looking for a hearty tomato with suped-up health benefits? Look no further than the health kick tomato!
This nutritious fruit is easy to grow and works well in canning, sauces, and pastes.
Grow health kick tomatoes in your garden, raised bed, or container and reap the benefits of this hardy–and hearty!–fruit.
Looking to buy health kick tomato seeds? Check availability.
Characteristics of the Health Kick Tomato
The health kick tomato looks a lot like a standard Roma tomato in size and shape. It is bright red at full maturity, thanks to its high lycopene content (more about that later).
This Roma-style tomato is described as sweet, tangy, and a little less flavorful than some other tomato varieties.
Ways to Enjoy the Health Kick Tomato
Health kick tomato plants are prolific producers. These meaty fruits can be enjoyed right off the vine or tossed into a salad.
Canning and Pastes
As a saladette tomato–a less juicy variety–health kick tomatoes are often turned into pastes or canned. Given the lower water content, their meatier texture yields a thicker paste than a juicier variety.
Health kick tomatoes are what’s known as a determinate tomato variety, meaning the plants produce the majority of their fruit all at one time (as opposed to indeterminate varieties, which will continue producing new fruit throughout the growing season).
Therefore, it’s a good idea to plan on canning your extra health kick tomatoes to avoid waste and to ensure you have the delicious fruit on hand even in the middle of winter.
Although canning tomatoes is a relatively intensive process, even novices in the kitchen can knock it out in less than a weekend. It’s well worth the effort!
Sauces and Salsa
Use your health kick tomatoes as the base for homemade salsas and sauces, whether you use them fresh or canned.
The lower water content making these tomatoes great for pastes, also comes in handy when making a flavorful salsa. Simply dice several fresh tomatoes and toss them with fresh cilantro, minced garlic, diced onion, salt, and a bit of cumin or chili powder.
Finish with a big squeeze of fresh lime juice. Let the flavors meld at room temperature or in the refrigerator for a bit, then enjoy!
Your canned health kicks and those you’ve made into a paste can be used instead of store-bought varieties for a fresher-tasting marinara or a hearty chili.
Health Benefits of the Health Kick Tomato
You may be familiar with the many health benefits of eating tomatoes by now. But what makes the health kick tomato stand out among the rest?
This tomato was bred to have up to 50 percent more lycopene than traditional tomatoes. Lycopene is a compound renowned for its antioxidant properties.
It has been shown to improve heart health and decrease the risk of certain cancers (especially prostate cancer). As a strong antioxidant, lycopene is an anti-inflammatory agent.
Growing Your Own Health Kick Tomatoes
Ready to start growing your own health kick tomatoes?
Health kick tomatoes thrive in US Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 through 10, but can be grown in nearly every hardiness zone, albeit with a shorter growing season. The plants do best in full sunlight, with 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Garden or Container?
In general, tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow in a garden or in a container.
Plant health kick tomatoes in moist, rich soil about 30 to 48 inches apart, with rows, spaced 3 to 4 feet apart to prevent disease from spreading among plants. Place each plant into a deep hole to allow the roots to grow and spread.
If you don’t have a garden space or simply want to have more control over the elements, plant this tomato in a large container (about 5 gallons or at least 12 inches deep and wide) to allow your plant to form a strong root system. Place the container in an area of full sun.
If you choose to begin your health kick tomatoes from seed, make sure to start them indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before the predicted last frost in your area. Plant the seeds about ¼-inch deep in a seed starting formula. Seedlings will emerge in 1 to 2 weeks.
When seedlings are about 3 or 4 weeks old, give them complete indoor houseplant food at half-strength, per the manufacturer’s instructions.
When it’s time to move the seedlings outside, they’ll need to be “hardened off” to reduce transplant shock. Move them to a protected area outside for a week without exposure to hot sun or strong winds. If there’s a threat of frost at night, bring them back inside or cover them until the morning.
Give your health kick tomato plants 1 to 2 inches of water per week during the growing season, preferably with a trickle or drip irrigation system. Water early in the day so the foliage can dry before temperatures cool.
A few more steps should be taken to care for your health kick tomato plants and ensure their success.
For determinate tomato plants, support isn’t necessary but can be helpful when the crop comes in, given that all the fruits tend to mature around the same time. Consider having stakes, cages, or ties on hand to use if you see the plant’s branches or stem becoming strained.
Because the health kick tomato is a determinate, there’s no need to prune it except to make sure the leaves aren’t touching the ground.
Harvest health kick tomatoes when the fruits are evenly red but still firm (about 75 days). They should have a discernible–if not strong–tomato smell and should come off the vine relatively–but not too–easily.
Where to Buy Health Kick Tomato Seeds
It’s easy to find health kick tomato seeds online. For a starter plant, check your local garden shops, though you may find these online with expedited shipping.
Your New Staple Tomato
Do you hate running out of canned tomatoes or paste in the middle of cooking? Do you long for a super-boost of antioxidants and fresh tomato flavor in the dead of winter? Are you willing to put in a little work in the summer for months of reward?
The health kick tomato might be your garden’s next greatest addition! This easy-to-grow, beefy fruit is a gift that keeps giving all year long. Find more great tomato-growing–and eating!–tips on our Tomato Plants page!
- About the Author
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Ronda Lindsay is a writer and editor who loves getting outside in her garden, whether that’s in the temperate climates of the Pacific Northwest or Mid-Atlantic or in the sweltering heat of south-central Texas.
Growing up, she was a regular at pick-your-own farms, where she and her siblings gathered anything that wasn’t already growing in her family’s backyard to eat, freeze, or can. As an adult, Ronda has taken the vast gardening knowledge bestowed upon her by her mother and used it to grow everything from strawberries to jalapeños, arrange beautiful container gardens, and nurse sick plants back to health.
With a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in professional writing, Ronda enjoys using her skills to share information and advice with Minneopa Orchards readers!