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Tomato

Are they a fruit? Are they a vegetable? Let’s just go with “yes.”

It might feel a little bit silly having a page dedicated to such a ubiquitous culinary plant, but we’re doing it anyway. Tomatoes are tangy and filled with umami flavor — it’s easy to see why pretty much everyone loves them.

Shortly after Europeans stumbled upon the New World, they came into contact with tomatoes and introduced them to their home continent during the era of Columbian Exchange. It didn’t take long before cultures throughout Europe — mostly in the Mediterranean — incorporated them into their own cooking. In the couple hundred years after this, the tomato spread even further to much of Asia and Africa.

Many — in fact, you could argue most — of the cuisines and dishes famous for tomatoes are from places where tomatoes didn’t exist for the vast majority of history. This includes Spanish and Portugese stews and rice dishes, Indian and Japanese curries, North African shakshouka, and of course, Italian pizzas and pastas. And that’s only the tiniest tip of the iceberg.

Having a negligible amount of fat and protein, tomatoes’ primary nutritional value comes from being high in fiber and many vitamins and minerals. They aren’t jam-packed with any one nutrient, but are filled with moderate amounts of tons of nutrients. Tomatoes also contain different antioxidants like beta carotene, lycopene, and chlorogenic acid, among others.

Along with other vegetables (or are they fruits?) you can get tomatoes at Uwajimaya’s produce department.