It’s hard to imagine cooking without Solanum Lycopersicum aka the Tomato. But this fruit is actually relatively new to the gastronomic world. Most likely the first variety to reach Europe from South America was yellow in color, since in Spain and Italy tomatoes were known as pomi d’oro, meaning yellow apples. Introduced first to southern Italy in the 16th century, it became popular in all Italian cooking by the 19th century and is still closely associated with Italian cuisine.
Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are an excellent source of lycopene which is a bright red phytochemical, vitamin C which is most concentrated in the jelly like substance that surrounds the seeds and potassium which surprisingly similar to the levels found in bananas. Because processing increases the concentration of bioavailable lycopene, tomato sauce is the best source especially when served with olive oil. Check out these delicious ways to use tomatoes on pages 49, 63, 68, 86, 92, 96, 104, 106, 110, & 142 from our cookbook: Cooking Dinner!
Cherry tomatoes make a great bite-sized snack and have the highest quantity of vitamin C; Early Girl is the most popular garden variety; the Better Boy Hybrid is one of the most succulent and juicy; Beefsteak are monsters and great for thick sandwiches; Romas are the best for cooking since they have more pulp to juice; and Heirloom are the sweetest and are grown from seeds that have been passed down for at least 3 generations!
Cook, Eat, Laugh…Claudia and Cook with your heart! Rima