It is very rare that there is such a discrepancy about an ingredient, alas, there is with tomatoes. The big debate: are tomatoes and fruit or a vegetable?
What are tomatoes?
Technically speaking, tomatoes are a fruit. a fruit is a ripened flower ovary and contains seeds. This means that other produce usually described as a vegetable are also fruits, like zucchinis and cucumbers.
But nutritionists will tell you all day long that tomatoes are a vegetable. They view anything not high in fructose and seen as savory as a vegetable.
When it comes down to it, does it really matter? Would you choose to not eat them if they were a fruit or a vegetable?
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are seen as one of the healthiest vegetables out there. They are commonly used in so many cuisines and clearly very popular in the US.
They have been linked to:
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Reduced risk of cancer
- High Vitamin C
- High potassium
- High Folate
- High Vitamin K
Raw tomatoes, freshly picked tomatoes have the most nutritional value. Any fruit or vegetable starts to lose some of its nutrition the moment it is picked.
Although tomatoes are very interesting in that other elements, like lysine, can actually increase when cooked. This can be linked to healthy skin and healing, especially for sunburns.
Types of Tomatoes
There are over 3,000 types of tomatoes and many are better for some things than others based on flavor, seed volume and juiciness.
The most popular types of tomatoes in the US are:
- Grape– small, oval tomatoes, less juicy than other small tomatoes
- Cherry– small little globes perfect for salads and kabobs
- Roma – aka plum tomatoes, medium sized, sweet and used in Italian food and for tomato sauces, usually peeled
- Beefsteak– large tomatoes used mostly for slicing and sandwiches with a mild flavor
- Heirloom– Large and uneven in shape, size and color. Sweet and less juicy, perfect for eating plain or a simple salad
- Vine Tomatoes– Medium size, used mostly for canning and sauces
- Green– Unripened tomatoes before they turn red, very firm and less juicy, perfect for frying
Recipes that use tomatoes: