The South American Golden Apple
We went on a journey through Latin America and dug up our roots.
Our golden apple, now regarded as the most used fruit/vegetable in Quebec cuisine, had to travel several hundred thousand kilometres to reach us. It was introduced to Europe in the 16th century by Spanish conquistadors who transported it out of Latin America into our lovely province, a little more than 150 years ago. It was utilized as an ornamental plant for over two centuries, suspected of being toxic. Through the United States, it was introduced to Canada in the 1850s and was an instant hit. Today, there are over 3,000 types of wild tomatoes and over 10,000 identified varieties worldwide.
Appreciated by all, it has even inspired a festival in its honour, the Tomatina, which takes place every year in Spain. Tomato seeds have also been sent to the International Space Station as part of the Tomatosphere project and have been cultivated in classrooms across Canada since 2001.
Tomatoes offer remarkable antioxidant capabilities and numerous advantages that contribute to a healthy diet, in addition to their exquisite taste.
Carotenoids, the natural pigments that give tomatoes their red (lycopene) or yellow-orange (carotene) colour, are potent antioxidants that concentrate primarily in organs such as the heart, liver and prostate, thus helping to battle against cancers. It is high in potassium and vitamins A, B and C, making it an effective ally in the fight against hypertension and the removal of toxins.
Whether eaten raw or cooked, tomatoes are full of nutrients essential to the healthy functioning of our bodies and allow us to enjoy them without limitation due to their low-calorie content. Let’s be honest, it’s difficult to resist its scents, which instantly take us to a world of freshness and simplicity. Bon appétit!