The tomato is a plant that produces annually form of berries and various dimensions of the particular red color and with many seeds: the name indicate either the species both the fruit, very used all over the world in the food sector.
Origins and history
Originally from South America, Central America and the more southern regions of the current USA, it was endemic of the whole group between Mexico, Novo Mexico and Peru. Among the Aztecs it was called tomatl and its sauce was much used in cooking. Among the Aztecs it was called tomatl and its sauce was much used in cooking. It was discovered by Europeans as a result of the conquest of Mexico by Cortés, the tomato was considered an aphrodisiac by some doctors: why it was called "pomme d'amour" or "apples of love" from French and English.
It was introduced for the first time in Europe by Cortes: it was Sir Walter Releigh to bring the tomato in England, when he donated some plants to Queen Elizabeth. Just to his nickname the plant was donated as a tribute by the nobles to their ladies, or as an act of homage to a character of a higher order.
The cultivation of tomato has spread since the second half of the seventeenth century particularly in southern Italy, where the climatic conditions were extremely favorable. At first, the tomato was grown in pots as an ornamental plant for patios and windows, just like the potato: only later, they were discovered pharmacological and nutritional properties.
Nutritional properties and benefits
Only the fruit of the plant is edible, because the green parts contain solanine and therefore are toxic. Even the tomato contains this substance, but its rate is very low, especially if the specimen is red and ripe. It's a widely used during the summer food because very refreshing and large nutrients and beneficial properties.
Also there is an Australian study according to which the frequent consumption of tomato allows to lower the blood pressure and reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in a percentage equal to 10%: in this way, is to prevent many cardiovascular problems.
These benefits are guaranteed by the presence in the vegetables of lycopene, an antioxidant that at the same time fights free radicals: in this way, you can limit the damage caused by cholesterol and cell aging. 25 milligrams of lycopene (equal half liter of juice or 50 grams of tomato paste) are enough to achieve the desired effect, although it is recommended to consume fresh tomatoes. An excellent alternative is take the substance with the juice or in the form of centrifuged. In addition it helps to prevent prostate cancer.
The use of tomato in cooking
Nowadays the tomato is one of the most used in the domestic kitchen ingredients, especially for salads or to prepare sauces, cooked starters or dishes, for example the pasta and pizza. It has a low calorie content. Among the most popular recipes there are the caprese, bruschetta with tomatoes, canapes with avocado and cherry tomatoes, stuffed tomatoes and tomato bruschetta.
If you opt for first courses or unique dishes include gazpacho with tomato sauce (traditional Andalusian recipe), quinoa salad with cherry tomatoes, Tuscan panzanella with tomatoes and creamy spicy tomato. Among the cold pasta are one topped with pesto and cherry tomatoes, that the Greek (with feta and cherry tomatoes) and topped with tomatoes, basil and ricotta.
The tomato juice is also used for the preparation of cocktails, for example the Bloody Mary cocktail: it is composed of vodka, salt, lemon, Tabasco and pepper. You can also have a non-alcoholic version (Virgin Mary), adding to tomato juice salt, pepper, Tabasco and lemon.
The tomato was originally gold (it was called "golden apple") and only through grafting has taken the color red. Relatively late it has become an edible food: in the beginning it was used fresh or in the form only in Southern gravy, but the cultivation for food spread only from the late eighteenth century. The increased production countries were the Kingdom of Naples and France, however, the intended use was very different: the former it was a food of the poor folk cuisine, while the Alps was reserved only to the king's court.