Actually, I just say “delicious.” 😉
I love, love, LOVE tomatoes — which, actually, are a fruit, not a vegetable, if you want to get technical about it. 😉 As Wikipedia explains:
Botanically, a tomato is a fruit: the ovary, together with its seeds, of a flowering plant. However, the tomato has a much lower sugar content than other fruits, and is therefore not as sweet. Typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, rather than at dessert, it is considered a vegetable for most culinary purposes. One exception is that tomatoes are treated as a fruit in home canning practices: they are acidic enough to be processed in a water bath rather than a pressure cooker as “vegetables” require. Tomatoes are not the only foodstuff with this ambiguity: eggplants, cucumbers, and squashes of all kinds (such as zucchini and pumpkins) are all botanically fruits, yet cooked as vegetables.
This argument has had legal implications in the United States. In 1887, U.S. tariff laws that imposed a duty on vegetables, but not on fruits, caused the tomato’s status to become a matter of legal importance. The U.S. Supreme Court settled the controversy on May 10, 1893, by declaring that the tomato is a vegetable, based on the popular definition that classifies vegetables by use, that they are generally served with dinner and not dessert (Nix v. Hedden (149 U.S. 304)). The holding of the case applies only to the interpretation of the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, and the court did not purport to reclassify the tomato for botanical or other purposes.
Tomatoes have been designated the state vegetable of New Jersey. Arkansas took both sides by declaring the “South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato” to be both the state fruit and the state vegetable in the same law, citing both its culinary and botanical classifications. In 2009, the state of Ohio passed a law making the tomato the state’s official fruit. Tomato juice has been the official beverage of Ohio since 1965. A.W. Livingston, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, played a large part in popularizing the tomato in the late 19th century; his efforts are commemorated in Reynoldsburg with an annual Tomato Festival.
According to the website Nutrition and You, in addition to their deliciousness, they abound in nutritional goodness:
- Very low in calories and fats; but rich source of dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins; recommended in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
- The antioxidants present in tomatoes are found to be protective against many cancers including colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
- Phytochemicals present in tomatoes like Lycopene and carotenoids have the ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen free radicals. Red varieties of tomatoes are especially rich in the most powerful flavonoid antioxidant lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene protects skin damage from UV rays and from prostate cancer.
- Zeaxanthin, another flavonoid compuond, helps protect eyes from “age related macular disease” (ARMD) in the elderly persons by filtering harmful ultra-violet rays.
- This veggie contains very good levels of vitamin A, and flvonoid anti-oxidants such as alpha and beta carotenes, xanthin and lutein. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- In addition, they are also good source of antioxidant vitamin-C (provide 21% of recommened daily levels per 100 g); consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals.
- Fresh tomato is very rich in potassium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids, helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
- They are also good source of folate, iron, calcium, manganese and other minerals.
So when I saw Brookshire’s Recipe of the Day in my inbox this morning for Marinated Summertime Tomatoes (click on link to see the original recipe), I just knew I had to make it!
This recipe is easy to adjust, both in quantity and in flavor with the types of tomatoes and herbs you use. If you wanted to make it a bit heartier, some feta cheese would be tasty in it, too, methinks. And it makes for a beautiful, cheery presentation, too! See, see, see, in the picture on the right? Isn’t it pretty and cheery? 🙂
I eyeballed all of the measurements, ‘though I did measure out about 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar.
IMPORTANT FRESH FRUIT AND VEGGIE SANITATION TIP: The easiest and most natural way to sanitize fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them raw is to spray them with a vinegar/water solution. Vinegar is a natural sanitizer! We keep a spray bottle filled with a vinegar and water solution that we use to clean eye glasses; I just grab it and spritz my produce with it when we’ll be eating it raw.
This is so pretty — and so yummy! — that I promise you won’t want to call things off. 😉 (Go on, give it a listen — you know you love this song as much as I do!)
Marinated Tomato Salad
- Red cherub tomatoes (10.5 ounce package), sliced in half
- Golden (yellow) snacking tomatoes (10.5 ounce package), sliced in half
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste (I used coarse-ground sea salt and coarse ground black pepper)
- Minced garlic to taste
- Fresh or dried oregano to taste
- Splash (about a tablespoon) olive oil
- Squirt (about 2 teaspoons) honey
- Place sliced tomatoes and chopped green onion in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- In a 1 cup measure, whisk together red wine vinegar, honey, minced garlic, olive oil, and oregano. Pour over tomatoes and a green onion. Toss gently.
- Let it hang out in the ‘fridge for an hour or so to let the flavors meld together before devouring 🙂