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Tomato - Fruit or vegetable?

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The other day my niece made me think when she came round for lunch. I was making a lovely fresh Spaghetti Bolognese when she asked ‘Are you going to put fruit in the bolognese?’. My response was ‘Definitely not,’ because I don’t like to add fruit to anything that’s not sweet. When she went on to say (with a know-all smile on her face) ‘Well you’re putting tomato in’ .She’d got me! If I’d given it some thought, I do actually know that botanically a tomato is a fruit, as it develops from the base of the flower and contains seeds. When it comes to cooking, however, it is typically considered to be a vegetable as it is mainly used in savoury dishes such as pizza, salads and sauces. But tomatoes are so versatile - there are recipes that use tomatoes in desserts and we all know cocktails like the popular ‘Bloody Mary’ where tomato juice is added as a main ingredient.

Giant food fight - Tomato throwing!

In a small Spanish town called Bunol near Valencia there is a festival called ‘La Tomatina’ which takes place on the last Wednesday of each August every year. It’s supposed to be the world’s biggest food fight, involving thousands of people throwing tomatoes at each other!

At around 11 o’clock in the morning many thousands of over-ripe tomatoes are taken by truck into the town center. The festival doesn’t officially start until someone has climbed to the top of a two-storey high, greased pole to reach a ham at the top. Invariably no one does, so the fight starts anyway by the firing of water cannons and then it’s everyone for themselves! After one hour the fighting ends and the streets are cleaned with fire trucks.

No one is completely certain how or when this tradition started but it was around 1944. It does sound fun but it’s not something that appeals to me. Having said that, tomatoes are known to be good for your skin. Supposedly leaving a brighter glowing effect, so maybe a good tomato food fight is what we all need!