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The Wisdom to know that a Tomato is a Fruit!

Tomato is an integral part of cooking in many forms. It is one of the most common and important ingredients in almost all the dishes. Tomato is commonly called as Tomato plant. It comes from Nightshade family Solanaceae. This is an important family of flowering plants. Tomato is an edible fruit of the same. Therefore it is rightly said “The Wisdom to know that a Tomato is a Fruit!” Few other plants from the same family are Aubergine, Pepper and Chilies.

Tomato

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Tomatoes origin goes back to 700 AD in Andes, which is now called, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Equador. In 16th century, tomatoes arrived in Europe through Spanish conquerors of Mexico and Peru.

Tomato plants are vines, even grow above the ground, if given support. The plants have branching stems, with a terminal bud at the tip, which does the actual growing.  The vines are hairy but less. The leaves of the plant are long, pinnate which means leaf is attached to the stem and divided into smaller leaflets with 5-9 in number on the stalk. The tomato plant best grows best grows in warm weather and good sunlight. The plant needs support hence it is generally tied with something to keep stems and fruits above the ground. All the parts of this fruit that are skin, flesh and seeds are edible. Tomato plant can be planted by burying stem in  the soil,  leaving few top inches exposed and watch your tomato plant grow.

Tomato

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Tomato is a fruit as it develops from ovary in the base of flower and contains seeds of the plant. Tomatoes are generally red, scarlet, or yellow, even green and purple varieties exist. They come in all sizes and shapes from almost spherical to oval and elongate to pear shape.

Interestingly there are more than 700 varieties of tomatoes which are in cultivation. Few of the varieties are:

1. Beefsteak – These are the largest tomatoes. The texture is meaty with sweet, pleasant flavor. They taste nice in salads, grilling and stuffing.

Beefsteak Tomato

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2.  Cherry – They are small and very sweet. They have intense flavor and are good in salads, pasta sauces and  roasted.

Cherry Tomatoes

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3. Plum – These are available from baby to full grown tomato. The shape is oval and has rich flavor with less seeds. They are best for making stews and sauces.

Plum Tomatoes

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4. Green – There are two types of green tomato. One is unripe, which is good for making chutneys. The second one remains green when ripe. It has tangy flavor and is good in salads.

Green Tomatoes

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5. Yellow – When these ripe the colour changes to golden yellow colour. They are good in salads, salsas and chutneys.

Yellow Tomatoes

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The largest producers of tomato according to year 2014 are China, followed by India, United States and Turkey. They are the major producers.  Tomatoes are integral part in Mediterranean, American and Asian cuisine. Tomatoes have lots of culinary uses and health benefits.

Culinary uses:

1. Salsas

Tomato salsa

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2. Chutney

Tomato chutney

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3. Tomato Juice

Tomato juice

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4. Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce

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5. Tomato puree is used in most of the Indian dishes.

Tomato Purée

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Health Benefits:

1. Tomatoes have high water content which keeps our skin healthy and shiny. Also it moisturizes our skin.

2. They provide 20% of daily vitamin intake required.

3. Since it is rich in Potassium, it helps in preventing heart diseases and strokes.

5. They help in curing skin and eye diseases as it has Vitamin A, flavonoid B complex, thiamine, etc.

6. It prevents our body from high Blood Pressure and cholesterol as it has punch of minerals and nutrients.

7. It is also rich in calcium, which tends to improve bone strength and bone formation of our body.

8. Since it is also high in Vitamin C, it has anti cancerous properties too.

9. Antioxidants lycopene and betacarotene are present in tomatoes due to which they excellent immunity boosting agents.

10. Tomato seeds help in improving eyesight as they contain high amounts of Vitamin A.

11. Tomato is considered as natural bleaching agent and is very helpful in lightening the skin tone.

I have written more articles for Food Bloggers Association of India. To read more click here.

Hope you enjoyed the journey through Tomato land. Will come soon with a new ingredient. Stay tuned. Ciao!!





Written by Ekta Agarwal

Hello everyone!! I am Ekta Agarwal from Hyderabad, India. Welcome to my blog where I share my recipes (tried and tested), interesting write ups on herbs, spices, cuisines and dining experiences.

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