Attack of the Tasty Tomatoes

Red Tomatoes

Photo: Mole-Volio CC-By-2.0

“Knowledge is knowing the tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in your fruit salad.” I don’t know the origin of that quote, but it made me chuckle. The funny part is that in researching this post, I found a number of recipes for fruit salad using tomatoes. There always has to be a rebel in the bunch, doesn’t there?

I remember as a kid that I couldn’t stand tomatoes. They were gooey, and I wanted nothing to do with them. As I grew, I found that I rather liked them. Not enough to eat one like an apple, but enough to put them on my list of favorite fruits.

So, is it a fruit or vegetable? I’ve had this “discussion” many times. According to Oxford Dictionaries it is definitely a fruit. The reason is that true fruits are developed from the ovary at the base of the flower. They also contain the seeds of the plant.

Here’s a fun fact that I didn’t know–the tomato is part of the “nightshade family”. These are a family of plants, some of which are very poisonous. The potato, eggplant, and tobacco are also members of this family of plants.

Tomatoes contain Lycopene. This is what’s responsible for the color of the tomato. Lycopene is a powerful anti-oxidant. For those who have been asleep under a rock for the last twenty years, anti-oxidants fight free radicals, which cause cell damage… which in turn lead to bad things such as cancer.

The tomato is also high in Vitamin A, C, potassium, and iron.

Recipe

Pico de Gallo & Salsa

Ingredients

4 Roma tomatoes
2-3 Jalapeno peppers
1 Habanera pepper (this is optional)
1 Red onion
¼ Cup cilantro (diced)
Juice from ½ of a lemon (lime can be a nice touch)
1 dash of sea salt

1 Garlic clove

Directions

  • Dice tomatoes into small pieces. The sharper the knife, the better. Dice onion. *Hint* Wash the knife and cutting board, and breathe through your mouth to keep from tearing up.
  • Chop the peppers. Remove the seeds and ribs if you don’t want heat. Leave them in if you’re a brave soul.
  • Finally dice garlic.
  • Wash the cilantro (usually about half of a bunch) in a colander. Dry it between two towels. Remove any big pieces of stem. Mince the cilantro.
  • Squeeze in the juice of ½ of a lemon, making sure not to let any seeds in the mixture.
  • Mix everything up really well, and add sea salt to taste.

For a traditional salsa, roast the tomatoes, onion, and peppers over an open flame. A gas grill works beautifully. Rotate often, and remove when skin is darkened, and starting to fall off. After you remove, add ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until a desired consistency is reached.


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3 Responses to “Attack of the Tasty Tomatoes”

  1. Tom says:

    I didn’t like tomatoes for a long time either. It wasn’t until the last couple of years that I started to like them. I really like the grape tomatoes, and romas.

    Oh, and that video… that’s disturbing. LMAO

  2. Bry Jensen says:

    “Here’s a fun fact that I didn’t know–the tomato is part of the “nightshade family”. These are a family of plants, some of which are very poisonous. …”

    This is why the tomato is not actually a historical traditional ingredient in Italian food – they were convinced that it was a poisonous plant. It was not until much later than the pomodoro we know and love today became an Italian staple!

    Tomatoes are also awesome for your eyesight, more than carrots!

    I love Pico de Gallo, I will definitely be checking out this recipe.

  3. Todd says:

    See, I didn’t know that about the tomato in Italian cooking.

    You’ll love the Pico de Gallo recipe. I make it every Sunday (a slightly bigger batch than what I outlined above), and we eat on it all week.

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