TOMATOES - in season now

Chef Caro talks about the love apple.

09 Feb 2010

Red and luscious, a tomato is a wondrous thing. Also called the love apple by the French, it has a shiny skin with a soft fleshy inside and a core filled with seeds.

Usually mistaken for a vegetable, it is a summer fruit that is easy to grow and is a sprawling plant in the nightshade family.
They can be eaten in many forms from raw to roasted and diced to dunked. They made the Campbells brand famous for its tomato soup and are generally found on the world's plate.

The word tomato comes from the Aztec tomatl and is native to South America. It is thought to have been consumed by prehistoric humans and the exact date of domestication is not known. The first domesticated tomato may have been a little yellow fruit, similar in size to Cherry tomatoes grown by the Aztecs of central Mexico.

It was at one time mistakenly called the wolfpeach and thought to be poisonous, ie: poison in a palatable package as referred to by Galen, a third century medical philosopher.

The high acidic content of the tomato makes it a prime candidate for canning, which is one of the main reasons the tomato was canned more than any other fruit or vegetable by the end of the nineteenth century.

These spheres of goodness are filled with the antioxidant lycopene which is a very beneficial phytochemical.  Antioxidants  mop up the free radicals that are a side effect of everyday life.

Research has shown that its antioxidant capabilities are double that of beta-carotene, making it a powerful protector against heart disease and prostate cancer.

Chefs tip
Don't keep your tomatoes in the fridge, rather on the window sill to ripen to their full flavour.

10 things to do with tomatoes

Make a basic tomato sauce with herbs for the freezer.

Spice up your breakfast with these Moroccan tomato eggs.

Check out our blogger Janice Tripepi's slow roasted cherry tomatoes.

Beautiful homemade tomato chutney.

Try these cheese and herb stuffed tomatoes on their own or as a great accompaniment.

Serve with a juicy rump steak.

Serve this delicious tomato and bacon quiche for a tasty brunch or light dinner.

Mop up the tasty juices of mussels in garlicky tomato broth with some crusty bread.

Try a cherry tomato and chorizo pasta for some punch.

Make your own tomato and salami pizza in no time.


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