Well, there’s quite a lot to clarify between us and the tomato. This king of vegetables has already conquered our plates, that’s for sure!
An ornamental plant until the 18th century
Hard to believe, but in olden times we didn’t even eat tomato. Thought to be poisonous, the vines were only used as ornamental plants deep into the 1700s. Two centuries earlier, the Aztec “tomatl” had crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
First it settled in Southern Europe. Peoples around the Mediterranean started cooking it. They added it to sauces to make them tastier and spicier. Then, the fruit slowly kept expanding its cooking range.
Today, in the Western world, nearly 30 pounds (14 kg) of tomatoes are consumed per person in a year, according to statistics offices.
Tomato: at first, cooked like a vegetable
In salads, together with fish or meat, tomato is most often cooked or baked like you would a vegetable.
The favorite vegetable of all
However, the science is clear: it is a fruit of which there are now several thousand varieties. Each differs and is unique: shape, color, texture, size…
- In summer, the tiny cherry tomato is a must-have for appetizers and barbecues.
- In fall, its larger cousins help make a tasty pasta dinner.
As for the “Beefsteak tomato”, it’s now making a comeback after having nearly disappeared from market stalls. Its best mode of cooking? Stuffed and oven-baked! With a very low calorie count and high vitamin content, tomato can be now savored year-round thanks to indoor and greenhouse growing.
Most countries in the North import tomatoes, since they eat much more than they can produce.
Nonetheless, when summer is in full swing, the tastiest tomatoes reach our plates: local and heirloom varieties, grown under the sun.
- Read also: How to grow tomato
Tomato strawberry basil cocktail
Ingredients for 4 persons:
- 4 cluster tomatoes,
- 7 oz (500 g) strawberries,
- 8 basil leaves,
- 1 table spoon balsamic vinegar,
- 2 table spoons olive oil,
- 1 pinch of salt
Steps to prepare this cold smoothie
- Clean the strawberries and tomatoes.
- Remove stems from strawberries.
- Dice the tomatoes.
- Place these fruits in a blender.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, salt and olive oil.
- Clean and dry the basil leaves.
- Slice the leaves into thin slivers.
- Add the basil to the mix. Stir and and serve cold.
Public Domain: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Swallowtail Garden Seeds
CC BY-SA 2.0: Kai Schreiber
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