Well October has arrived and what better way to start the scariest month of the year than to bring up the creepy, scary tomato. What do you mean the scary tomato, you ask? Well for over 200 hundred years the tomato was considered an inedible and poisonous plant. The tomato was dangerous food to eat as many people wound up sick after eating the fruit. This was because at that time aristocrats ate off of mostly pewter plates with pewter utensils. Lead in the pewter broke down and leeched into the highly acidic tomatoes. This obviously led to lead poisoning (ba da bum ching!). The tomato was considered a Solanceae plant in Europe, the same category as the mandrake or the deadly nightshade (deadly and ominous plants). Tomatoes did not shed its infamous rep until around the 1800’s around the time the pizza was invented in Italy.
The plump veggie/fruit had a much better reputation in Mesoamerica, where they originated. Ironically, Tomatoes were brought to Europe by early explorers and brought back to the Americas with the Italians who paid little attention to their reputation and regularly enjoyed eating them. Thus the pizza, thank you Italy!
The name, tomato, comes from the Aztec word, tomatl. And In German history, the tomato was thought to conjure werewolves and was integral in lycanology. Creepy!
Nutritionally tomatoes are the ‘renaissance man’ of nutrition. Tomatoes are jam-packed with Vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and potassium. They help fight sun damage to your hair, skin, improve bone mass, and are a natural cancer fighter. The tomato also regulates blood sugar and is an anti-inflammatory. What a talented food!
Lastly, there are many varieties of tomatoes. Many, many, many, many varieties. There are literally too many to name! Here is a good resource to read up on the different varieites, http://njaes.rutgers.edu/tomato-varieties/. You will be surprised on how many there actually are! Choosing ripe tomatoes is not that difficult. Make sure the skin is unbroken and intact and the tomato should be plump yet firm not squishy or too juicy. The squishy ones will be good for cooking sauces or soups with, however.
One more note: the acid from tomatoes and the lining of cans (BPA or Bisphenal-A ) are not a good mix. It is more of a health risk with fetuses, infants and small children. So buy glass canned tomatoes whenever possible!!
Her is my recipe for basic tomato sauce, it never fails to impress people! And you can freeze it!
1- 1 1/4c olive oil
10 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
4 yellow onions, roughly chopped
4-6 fresh Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 TBLS dried oregano
1 tsp dried chili flakes
1/4c red wine
4 16oz jars of glass jarred tomatoes (I found them at Costco of all places!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 1/2c of the olive oil in a large sauce pan on medium-high. Add the garlic, onions, fresh tomatoes, and chili flakes. Let the onions sweat until they are starting to turn translucent and become soft. Add the wine and cook off the alcohol, about 2-3 minutes. When the alcohol is cooked off, add the jarred tomatoes and bring the sauce to a very slow simmer. It should bubble every 2-3 seconds, not a full rolling simmer. Turn the heat down and let slowly simmer for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, transfer to a blender or use a hand blender and puree the sauce smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now let the sauce cool and then divide it into plastic containers in portions you will eat later and place in the freezer. Enjoy!!
Get out and buys some tomatoes today and enoy this amazing food!!
Photo by the lovely Michelle Roberts!!
If you have a recipe or tattoo you would like to share, contact us at knivesandneedlesblog.com