Fruit Or Vegetable?

Fruit Or Vegetable?

Botanically, a tomato is a fruit: the ovary, together with its seeds, of a flowering plant. However, the tomato has a much lower sugar content than other edible fruits, and is therefore not as sweet. Typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, rather than at dessert, it is considered a vegetable for most culinary uses.


One exception is that tomatoes are treated as a fruit in home canning practices: they are acidic enough to be processed in a water bath rather than a pressure cooker as vegetables would require.


Tomatoes are not the only food source with this ambiguity: green beans, eggplants, cucumbers, and squashes of all kinds (such as zucchini and pumpkins) are all botanically fruits, yet cooked as vegetables.


The richest source of lycopene in the diet is tomato and tomato derived products. Lycopene has also been shown to protect against oxidative damage in many epidemiological and experimental studies. In addition to its antioxidant activity, other metabolic effects of lycopene have also been demonstrated.


Tomato consumption has been associated with decreased risk of breast cancer, head and neck cancers and might be strongly protective against neurodegenerative diseases.


Tomatoes, tomato sauces and puree are said to help lower urinary tract symptoms (BPH) and may have anticancer properties.


Tomato consumption might be beneficial for reducing cardiovascular risk associated with type 2 diabetes.


The tomato belongs to the nightshade family. The plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants. It is a perennial in its native habitat, although often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual. An average common tomato weighs 102–105 grams.

Sambal Tomato Recipe
500g Tomatoes, ripe (Asian type).
120g Chilli Padi.
240g Red Chillies.
600g Shallots.
200g Garlic.
1 tablespoon Salt, or to taste.
6-10 tablespoons Sugar, or even more to taste (should be sweet).
Oil, enough for frying (quite a lot actually).

Method (pounding):
Pound ingredients in the following order in a pestle and mortar for best result. Pound till fine but with bits and pieces showing. Do NOT use electric blender!
1. Chillies, both types (washed, sliced and deseeded for milder taste).
2. Shallots (peel skin and cut up roughly).
3. Garlic (peel skin and cut up roughly).
4. Tomatoes, washed and cut coarsely.

Method (frying):
1. Heat oil in a wok and fry the pounded ingredients over medium low heat till most of the juices have evaporated.

2. Add salt and sugar to taste (this is a sweet sambal).

3. Fry till oil exudes and bubbles.

4. Cool completely and keep in airtight container. Can freeze almost indefinitely.

5. Serve as spicy sauce topped over boiled ladies fingers, boiled seafood or as keropok chip dip.

Happy eating 🙂

Information credit: Wikipedia

2 Responses to “Fruit Or Vegetable?”
  1. Sofia says:

    I decided to grow tomatoes once when I lived in the UK – in the middle of the freezing winter. The next day it snowed and they died and I had to give credit to my friends who told me it was way too cold to grow tomatoes. Well, it was way too cold for myself, so poor tomatoes left out there in the snow!
    But one day I will take up my tomato growing quest again!!

    • Sam Han says:

      The tomato plant is very lovely to look at, quite therapeutic actually. I hope you start growing them soon. Then you can have all the salads you want 😀

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