Much Ado About Tomato

18August 2021

About now tomatoes are at their full production. Your garden is bursting and they are all over the farmers’ markets and food stores. Inevitably someone will pose the question of whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables. It depends.

Botanically fruits start as flowers and have seeds that aid in the plant’s reproduction. Just like apples and, yes, eggplant, peppers, cumbers and tomatoes. Vegetables are roots, stems, and leaves of a plant…think carrots, lettuce, etc. In culinary terms a fruit is sweeter and often tangy while vegetables are somewhat blander and more suited to savory dishes rather than desserts.

Who do you get to make the definitive decision? The Supreme Court, of course. Wait! Why would a seemingly trivial matter like this make it all the way to the highest court in the nation? Money! In 1893 there was a tariff on vegetables by the Port of New York. Importers argued that tomatoes were fruit to avoid paying the 10%. The Court decision was based on common usage, which was as a vegetable, and that is how they are now officially classified.

Dilled Cream of Tomato Soup

2 Tablespoons Butter

3 Green Onions, chopped

4 to 6 (depending on size) Tomatoes, cored *

1 cup chicken broth

1 Tablespoon fresh dill, minced

½ Cup whipping cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

* Substitute 1 can (14 ½ ounces) of canned whole tomatoes

In a 2 quart saucepan heat butter and add onions, cooking until the onions are limp. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat and stir in dill and whipping cream, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Cool slightly and then process in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Pour into individual serving bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and sprigs of fresh dill.

Equally delicious hot or cold.

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