Country Kitchen: Tomato Time Meals

Country Kitchen: Tomato Time Meals
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Nowadays tomatoes generally are available year round in the produce section of the groceryÂ…unlike when I was a child. Then tomatoes eaten out of growing season were obtained from a can. This might be the type Mother canned in summer or those you purchased at the store.
However, tomatoes fresh from the garden during the summer growing season seem the tastiest. ThatÂ’s why those found at the farm and garden stands throughout the countryside are so popular if you donÂ’t have your own garden.

A Food for Centuries

Tomatoes grew wild thousands of years ago in early civilizations of South America, particularly in Peru and Equador. Then this plant, actually categorized as a fruit, was taken to Central America and Mexico. In some regions it was referred to as the “tomatl.”

When the Spanish explorers came to this area in the 1500s, they carried the tomato back to Europs. The Spanish and Italians enjoyed this food, using it cooked and made into sauces.

Once Considered Poisonous

However, then the tomato was taken to England and other parts of Europe, it wasnÂ’t so popular. It even was considered to be a poisonous food by some and thus developed an unfavorable reputation.

Eventually the tomato grew into favor and had widespread use in soups, stews, and sauces. ItÂ’s believed the early tomato was tastier when cooked than raw because the flavorful varieties of today hadnÂ’t been developed.

Popular in America

The tomato came back to this country with the early European settlers. They brought this fruit with them, began growing it, and using it in their diets.

At first tomatoes were canned mainly in the home. Eventually a canning industry evolved and the tomato became popular year round, not just during the summer gardening season.

Although we ate tomatoes fresh from the garden and thoroughly enjoyed them, Mother, Sister and I canned quantities of them for winter use. This was a summer activity that wasnÂ’t so pleasurable, but one that was necessary on our farm.

Nowadays fresh tomatoes are available in the stores year round because they can be grown in greenhouses after gardening season. Then theyÂ’re shipped around the country.

Versatile Food

The tomato is a very versatile food and can be used in many ways, both fresh and cooked. TheyÂ’re a great addition to salads whether sliced with greens or served with various stuffings.

You also can simply slice tomatoes on a bed of lettuce greens and serve with salad dressing. We usually spread a bit of mayonnaise over the tomatoes. Sometimes Mother sliced onions and cucumbers with them. These can be served on individual salad plates or on a large platter.

The small grape tomatoes are ideal to eat out-of-hand and make a delicious snack as well as an addition to a tossed salad.

EGG-TOMATO SCRAMBLE – Combine 6 beaten eggs, 2 medium chopped tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon chopped parsley.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter or margarine in a skillet or use oil. Add egg-tomato mixture and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the eggs have thickened and are cooked. Serve with hot biscuits and tossed salad.

Article (C) 2005 Mary Emma Allen

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About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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