You say tom-AY-to, I say tom-AH-to.
Today, we are talking about tomatoes, especially those of the grape and cherry variety. You’ll find a tip that will change your life when you want to cut several of them quickly and simultaneously, a delicious and simple salad using them, and some interesting facts and history surrounding them. We hope you’ll be inspired to incorporate some tomatoes in your diet this week.
Cutting Cherry Tomatoes
The typical way to cut a cherry tomato is one at a time. (As shown in the first two pictures.) Instead, try bunching all of the tomatoes together, then place a plastic lid with the lip side DOWN. (It’s best if the lid is as deep as half of the depth of the cherry tomato so they will be cut evenly. Place your palm down on the lid, and press down a little. Use the lid as a guide, and slice tomatoes in half using a serrated knife. Lift the lid and all tomatoes will be sliced in half at one time. Magic!
Tomato, Bacon and Arugula Salad
This is a quick and easy salad I almost always serve on top of a grilled steak, but you’ll enjoy it on its own as well.
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
½ cup red onion, sliced very thin
1 TBLS balsamic vinegar, the thicker the better
1 ½ TBLS olive oil: the fruitiest, best you can afford
Juice of one lime (about a TBLS or so)
Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3-4 cups of baby arugula
Mix everything together except the bacon and arugula. Right before serving, add the bacon and arugula, tossing together lightly. Serve on top of a grilled steak, or it’s also great on its own.
Cherry Tomato Tips and Trivia:
Tomatoes are low in Sodium, and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. They’re also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a great source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium and Manganese.
- Do not refrigerate tomatoes! They will retain their flavor and ripen correctly at room temperature. Once they are ripe, use within 3 days.
- This vegetable is actually a berry, and is thought to have come first from the Andes Mountains, and the present name is close to the Indian name. It belongs to the nightshade family, along with potatoes, eggplants, peppers and tobacco.
- In Europe, where it was taken by the Spanish, the tomato was grown only as an ornamental for many years. Eating tomatoes was considered certain to prove fatal. Even in North America, it has been only in the past 150 years that people mustered enough courage to try eating them. That all changed starting on the courthouse steps in Salem, New Jersey, at twelve o’clock noon on September 26, 1820, when Colonel Robert G. Johnson ate not one, but a basketful of tomatoes. He not only lived, he wasn’t a bit ill following his demonstration.
In 1893, the Supreme Court ruled that the tomato must be considered a vegetable, even though, botanically, it is a fruit. Because vegetables and fruits were subject to different import duties, it was necessary to define it as one or the other. So, tomatoes were declared to be a vegetable given that it was commonly eaten as one. (Source: The Packer, 6/9/90)
Tomatoes were popularized in this country when the Creoles in New Orleans included them in their popular gumbos and jambalayas. (Source: The California Tomato Board)
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about tomatoes today, and that you’ll incorporate more of them into your diet. Real Life 101 wishes you a wonderful and healthy week!