Tomatoes – A Vegetable Or Fruit?

Tomatoes, the red juicy variety makes be absolutely nostalgic. It reminds of the days when vacations meant spending time with my grandparents. My maternal grandmom had a beautiful kitchen garden and walking with her (holding her hands and listening to her experiences) in her elaborate kitchen garden was real fun. Kids today talk of generation gap in a big way. However, at the time there really did not seem any generation gap between me and my grandmom. I enjoyed every trip back in time with her. Her garden was indeed beautiful and looking back what a collection it was. From tomatoes, eggplants, green chillies, onions, potatoes to coconuts, bananas, guavas and spices like pepper she had it all.

She loved taking a mid-morning walk in the backyard. Walking alongside the varieties of plants with juicy fruits and vegetables hanging from them was a sight that is still very fresh in my mind. She had a lot of interests from gardening to stitching and was an exceptional cook. With age however, she has been restricted to a great extent in what she is able to do physically. When I see her today I really am forced to think of the effect time can have on us. How over the years things change, circumstances change and from a young energetic woman you are restricted to the confines of your home.

It makes me realize as to how important it is to take care of oneself and remain fit. Guess I have been a little carried away by emotions. It does happen to me at times when I sit to write and get a bit nostalgic then it is one thought connecting to the other and here I am on an emotional trip.

Coming back to my topic of tomatoes. The tomato is still surrounded by the many controversies of whether a fruit or vegetable. However, for all practical aspects now we do consider it a vegetable.The earliest discovered cookery book that contained recipes with the tomato dates back to the year 1692 and was found in Naples. However, the tomato definitely has come a long way since. From the pizza, burgers to ketchup and curries, the tomatoes have come to be an important part of our everyday meal. They are available in a variety of colors, sizes and types. From reds, oranges, greens to whites and tiny cherry tomatoes to the big bulky beefsteak tomatoes, they are all superb. The canned tomatoes are a little different, slightly longish, they are known as plum tomatoes.

With a high vitamin C content and rich in the antioxidant Lycopene, tomatoes sure are a must have on your menu. The antioxidant Lycopene fights against the free radicals in our body and has protective properties that prevent cancer and other diseases. It has a high fiber content too in addition to being rich in vitamin A, B, iron and phosphorus.

There are several dishes and variations possible with tomatoes. However, while cooking them you must ensure that you do not do so in an aluminum utensil. The acid content of the tomato reacts with the metal and is not really good for health.

The very thought of the many permutations and combinations that are possible with tomatoes makes me so hungry. Yummy tomato soups, Indian curries, delicious pizzas, lasagna …. can’t resist it any more. I am off to my kitchen to create a mouthwatering dish with the tomatoes lying in my refrigerator.