The Humble Tomato – fruit or vegetable?

British Tomato Fortnight starts 20th May 2019 - but is it a fruit or a vegetable.  Tomatoes are the “fruit” of the vine (like cucumbers, beans & peas and squashes).  The French refer to the tomato as pomme d’amour or Love Apple!  However you define them, tomatoes are not only delicious but good for you too; with Vitamins A, C and E as well as minerals calcium and potassium.

We unearthed some fascinating facts about tomatoes; some no doubt you’ll already know but some you probably didn’t. 

·       We eat around half a million tonnes each year in the UK – that’s around 8.5 Kg each!

·       There are thousands of different varieties of tomatoes from tiny sweet “cherry tomatoes” to the huge “beefsteak tomato”.

·       The sweetness of a tomato is measured by the Brix scale calculating the percentage of sugar contained in the tomato’s liquid.

·       British commercial growers produce nearly 100,000 metric tonnes per year, meaning they wash 4 million m2 of glass, equivalent to washing The Shard 71 times a year!

·       Tomatoes contain high levels of lycopene said to be an excellent source of antioxidants and it is said that 85% of lycopene in the Western diet comes from tomatoes.  Cooking them in olive oil helps the body absorb it.

 So next time you enjoy a fabulous homemade sauce on your favourite pasta, think about not only how good it tastes but also that’s it good for you too.