Tomatoes, Sweet and Savory!

Mon, Apr 26, 2010


Tomatoes, Sweet and Savory!

What food is both sweet and savory? Considered to be both fruit and vegetable? Loved by many and hated by just as many? The tomato! Tomatoes are considered to be the most popular fruit (botanically speaking) in the world. They’ve even been given some interesting names such as “apple of love”  by the French and “apple of paradise” by the Germans!

Tomatoes originated in South America and are thought to have started in Peru. A particular species made it up to Mexico where it was cultivated by the peoples of that region such as the Aztecs. The word tomato even comes from an Aztec word, tomatl. The Aztecs used the tomato in their cooking, and the Pueblo believe that being witness to the ingestion of the seeds would give them powers of divination.

The fruit that made it to Europe was thought to have been  yellow and small like a cherry tomato. It’s not certain who, Columbus (1493) or Cortez (1521), brought the first tomato back to Spain. In 1544 the earliest known European literature on the tomato was found by Pietro Andrea Mattioli, who also had a name for the tomato, pomo d’oro, golden apple. The Spanish distributed the tomato to countries in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the Philippines. The earliest cookbook with tomato recipes was publish in Naples in 1692.

The health benefits of the tomato are amazing. They contain one of the most powerful natural antioxidants, lycopene, which has been shown to help protect against certain cancers, improve the skin’s ability to withstand UV rays. Tomatoes are also rich in vitamins C and A. It’s also thought that the tomato helps with high cholesterol, heart health as well as other health issues.

Tomatoes are used around the world in a variety of cuisines. Some of the best known uses for tomatoes are as a base for many dishes and condiments like ketchup, barbecue sauces, tomato sauces, soups, juice and salsas. They are also great as they are either fresh, roasted, baked or in some cases fried (green tomatoes).

The fabulous and amazing tomato has many reasons for being so popular around the world. They are healthy, sweet and savory, used in many countries for a variety of dishes and are beautiful to look at. Next time you have some tomatoes around, give these quotes a thought:

“A world devoid of tomato soup, tomato sauce, tomato ketchup and tomato paste is hard to visualize. Could the tin and processed food industries have got where they have without the benefit of the tomato compounds which colour, flavour, thicken and conceal so many deficiencies? How did the Italians eat spaghetti before the advent of the tomato? Was there such a thing as tomato-less Neapolitan pizza?”
Elizabeth David (1913-1992) An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, 1984

“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.”
Laurie Colwin, Home Cooking

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This post was written by:

Rochelle - who has written 324 posts on Made in Kitchen Blog.

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4 Responses to “Tomatoes, Sweet and Savory!”

  1. Chef Dennis Says:

    what a great informative post!! thanks for sharing

  2. claudia lamascolo Says:

    Awesome post have a whole post on the wonderous debate on fruit of vegetables on the tomato I enjoyed reading this post

  3. Rochelle Says:

    Glad you enjoyed the post! I like to make sure people are informed of the foods they eat :D

  4. Bonnie Says:

    Loved the post

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