Tomato

The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a popular fruit (yes, a fruit 🙂 ) widely cultivated that is often used as a vegetable. On our farm, we have several types of tomato. From the “Coração de Bói”, Zebra (Green), cherry... and they're all delicious. Have you tried ours?

This is July’s product of the month.

Here are some key points:

  1. Origin and History: Tomatoes are believed to have originated in western South America, likely in the region that is now Peru and Ecuador. They were first domesticated by the indigenous peoples of these areas around 500 BC. The Spanish explorers brought tomatoes to Europe in the 16th century, and from there, they spread to other parts of the world.

  2. Botanical Classification: Tomatoes belong to the Solanaceae family, which includes other well-known plants like potatoes, peppers, and eggplants. They are classified as berries because they develop from the ovary of the flower and contain seeds.

  3. Varieties: There are thousands of tomato varieties available today, with different shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. Some common types include beefsteak, roma, cherry, grape, heirloom, and plum tomatoes.

  4. Nutritional Value: Tomatoes are low in calories and rich in essential nutrients. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium. They also contain antioxidants like lycopene, which is responsible for the red color and is believed to have various health benefits.

  5. Culinary Uses: Tomatoes are incredibly versatile in the kitchen and used in various cuisines worldwide. They can be eaten raw in salads, sandwiches, and salsas, or cooked in sauces, soups, stews, and curries. Tomato paste, tomato sauce, and ketchup are popular tomato-based condiments.

  6. Health Benefits: Tomatoes offer numerous health benefits. The high vitamin C content supports the immune system, while vitamin A is essential for vision and skin health. Potassium helps maintain heart health and blood pressure. Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, is linked to reducing the risk of certain cancers and promoting heart health.

  7. Cultivation: Tomatoes are grown in a wide range of climates but prefer warm temperatures. They are typically cultivated as annual plants, even though they are perennials in nature. Tomatoes require well-drained soil, plenty of sunlight, and regular watering. They are often grown in home gardens, commercial farms, and greenhouses.

  8. Pests and Diseases: Tomatoes are susceptible to various pests and diseases, such as aphids, whiteflies, hornworms, and blight. Farmers and gardeners use different methods to control these problems, including natural predators, pesticides, and crop rotation.

  9. Genetic Modification: Over the years, tomatoes have been genetically modified to enhance their characteristics, such as improving disease resistance, shelf life, and taste. Genetic engineering has sparked debates surrounding the safety and ethical implications of consuming genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

  10. Fun Facts:
    – Despite being a fruit botanically, tomatoes were once legally classified as vegetables in the United States due to a Supreme Court ruling in 1893.
    – The world’s largest producer of tomatoes is China, followed by India and the United States.
    – Tomatoes come in various colors, including red, yellow, orange, green, and even purple, depending on the variety.

Tomatoes continue to be a beloved ingredient in various dishes worldwide, and their popularity shows no signs of waning.

RECIPE

“Algarve Style” Tomato Salad

A typical Algarvian tomato salad is something I eat all the time but especially with “Coração de Bói” Tomato or Pantano Romanesco Tomato, or the so-called ugly tomatoes, they are perfect for this salad which is basically a very well seasoned pile of tomatoes, so let’s get to this perfect recipe for the summerSalad

Ingredients:

  • Tomato – 2
  • Olive Oil – 3 Tablespoons
  • Vinegar – 1 Tablespoon
  • Oregano – A pinch
  • Pepper – A pinch
  • Salt – A pinch

Preparation Method

Remove the heads of the tomatoes and cut them into thin slices, season everything with three tablespoons of oil, one tablespoon of vinegar, a pinch of oregano, pepper and salt, mix, taste and adjust the seasoning and that’s it, just serve!

You can also add to this preparation, rocket, onion and a lemon vinaigrette. Put it on a toast (bruschetta style), and it´s delicious.

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