The tomato: it’s not what you think it is. Second only to potatoes, the tomato is one of America’s favorite vegetables. But [spoiler alert] it’s not actually a vegetable. More on that in a minute.
Tomato love, by the numbers. Of American households that have a garden, over 90% are growing tomatoes, and August is peak Midwestern tomato-picking time. This makes us really happy.
If you’re happy and you know it, eat some tomatoes. Let’s take a look back to national tomato-eating statistics: the USDA says that an average American eats about 22 – 24 lbs of tomatoes each year. Now, about three-fourths of that is in the form of processed tomato products stuff (and about half the tomatoes we consume are in the form of ketchup and salsa – that’s a lotta condiment you’re putting on your food!). But that still leaves a good 5 + pounds (on average) of fresh tomatoes that we each consume (on average).
And nothing tastes closer to heaven than the flavor of a fresh, local, ripe tomato. Which is available, in abundance, right now. We’re sort of like the Forest Gump of tomatoes, making tomato salad, tomato pizza, roasted tomatoes, tomato marmalade, tomato jam, tomato pesto and tomato bruschetta, pasta with tomato sauce, BLT sandwiches, and whatever else we can think of to pair with tomatoes.
While we go out to the garden to pick some more tomatoes, read on for some fun tomato trivia that amuses us, that we think you’ll enjoy, too: