Posted by Wenona Napolitano on Apr.30, 2011
Too many delicious dinners wouldn’t be the same without the tomato. Especially delectable dishes from the Mediterranean area, could you imagine French, Greek or Italian food without the touch of the tomato?
Today the tomato grows all over the world, yet it is only native to areas of Mexico and South America. The Spanish explorer, Cortez, discovered the tomato growing in the gardens of the Aztecs in the early 1500’s and brought seeds back to Europe with him, yet the tomato still took over 100 years to become a food source. Southern Italians were the first to embrace the golden globes (early tomatoes were yellow not red) and incorporate them into their cuisine. By 1758 the tomato was mentioned in “The Art of Cookery” by Hannah Glass in England.
The tomato is thought to have arrived in the American colonies around 1770 but it was believed to be poisonous. The “poison apple” was avoided because it was grouped in the same botanical family as Nightshade, a highly poisonous plant. At one time the tomato was also called the “love apple”, as it was believed to have aphrodisiacal powers, but the actual term “love apple” probably occurred because the word tomato stems from the French pomme d’amour and the Italian pomi d’amore which both meant apple of love.
The tantalizing tomato is one of the most widely used foods. It is used in every form; fresh, roasted, cooked, smoked, sun dried, turned into sauces, juice, soup, ketchup and used widely in seasonings. Not only is the tomato versatile it is also extremely healthy.
Tomatoes are relatively easy to grow and there are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes out there to choose from. They can all be classified into four basic categories; standard slicing tomatoes these are most common to find, small grape and cherry tomatoes usually used for salads, Roma or plum tomatoes used for sauces, and the specialty or heirloom tomatoes.
Most of today’s tomatoes are bred to be hardier; they are still very fragile and delicate fruits/vegetables. They need to be handled carefully because they are easy to bruise. To store tomatoes you should keep them out of direct sunlight and never put them in the refrigerator. The cold destroys flavor molecules. If possible it is best to store them in a cool or room temperature area. Keep them away from onions and bananas. They will absorb the taste of the onion and bananas emit a gas that will cause the tomatoes to ripen too quickly.
The tantalizing tomato can be used to create hundreds and possibly thousands of dishes, being one of the most versatile foods available.
Article By: Wenona Napolitano
Profile: Wenona Napolitano is a freelance writer, poet and the author of The Everything Green Wedding Book. She writes everything from articles to web content. Her specialty areas include: natural health, green living, gardening, crafts and wedding planning. When not writing, Wenona loves to spend time with her family which consists of her husband, three children, and her mother (who lives right next door). Together they craft, garden and often go on treasure hunts at local antique stores, flea markets and yard sales. To relax she loves nothing better than to curl up with a blanket and a good book.
Latest posts by Wenona Napolitano
- The Tantalizing Tomato: History and Facts - April 30th, 2011
- How to Grow Great Tomatoes - April 28th, 2011
- Home Gardening - April 26th, 2011
- Fill Your Easter Baskets with Eco-Friendly Art Supplies from Stubby Pencil Studio - April 20th, 2011
- Ideas for a Simple Eco-Easter - April 11th, 2011
- Simply Green: Easy Things You Can Do to Be Green and Save Money - April 4th, 2011
- A Review of The Mom's Guide to Growing Your Family Green by Terra Wellington - April 1st, 2011
- A Review of ELAVA Botanik: Food Grade Shampoo and Conditioner - March 30th, 2011
- A Review of The Best of Clean Eating: Improving Your Life One Meal at a Time - February 27th, 2011
- Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Wrap - December 24th, 2010