Tomato—-fruit or vegetable?
Ah, the sweet tomato. It makes me think of summer and all its glory. Scientifically speaking, a tomato is definitely a fruit. True fruits are developed from the ovary in the base of the flower, and contain the seeds of the plant though cultivated forms may be seedless. Blueberries, raspberries, and oranges are true fruits, and so are many kinds of nut. As far as cooking is concerned, some things which are strictly fruits, such as tomatoes or bean pods, may be called ‘vegetables’ because they are used as savory rather than sweet. Chef Nancy loves to couple savory and sweet flavors together so you should ask her about her many tomato recipes! The red colored fruits and vegetables are colored by natural plant pigments called “lycopene” or “anthocyanins.” Lycopene in tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit, for example, may help reduce risk of several types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. Lycopene in foods containing cooked tomatoes, such as spaghetti sauce, and a small amount of fat are absorbed better than lycopene from raw tomatoes. In other words, a great addition to your nutrition plan is cooked tomato foods so go ahead and make the home made pizza or pasta! And in the meantime until summer fades into fall, enjoy every single one of those tomatoes in your garden or at the farmer’s market.