Cyprus’ Tomatoes, an anytime indulgence

The Orange season almost come to the end and the glory of strawberry is on the way. Though strawberry is available since January, the stocks are increasing and the price is getting cheaper everyday. While waiting for the peak season of strawberry, I noticed that tomatoes are abundantly available since the end of January. I know, tomatoes are all seasons fruit/vegetable, which are available throughout the year.

Globe tomato at supermarket 1

Globe tomato at market

Tomatoes are one of the main staple foods of the Cypriot.  It’s a critical part in Mediterranean cuisine. Fresh tomatoes are used for salad, grilled with kebabs/soulvaki and are also used in other forms – stuffed tomato, bean in tomato soup and many more. It is very different with Asian food, especially Indonesian food as Indonesian generally only use tomato as a small ingredient part of the major dishes.  Indonesian mostly uses tomato in making sambal (chilly sauce). Yes, Indonesian does eat fresh tomato as part of Lalapan (raw vegetables served with sambal) but not as many as here in Cyprus. Others use are for juice and garnish.

I was surprised when I learned that there are hundreds (Yes hundreds!) varieties of tomato, which mostly divided based on shape, color, size and its use for different kind of dish. Below are some rough categories of tomatoes available in Cyprus based on my observation during living here :).

Globe Tomato

Standard tomato – round shape, used in different types as: sliced tomatoes in sandwich, salad and also for general cooking.

Globe tomato / Standard tomato

Globe tomato / Standard tomato

Roma Tomato or Plum Tomato

Oval rounded shape (looks like a plum), contains a lot of water with thin skin. Generally used for sauce and juice.

Roma Tomato / Plum Tomato

Roma Tomato / Plum Tomato

Cherry Tomato

Small version of globe tomato, more juicy and sweet rather that globe tomato.Eaten fresh for salad. Gardener’s delight is one of cherry tomato’s variety that grown in Cyprus.

Cherry Tomato

Cherry Tomato

Grape tomato

Small size/bite size of plum tomato and very sweet (even sweeter than cherry tomato).  Eaten fresh for salad

.

Grape Tomato

Grape Tomato

Grape tomato is of my favorite. I often ate this tomato as snack just like grape. It make me feeling full as tomato relatively has high content of water. So even though the price is more expensive compared to other tomatoes, I think it is still much better rather than consuming chips or cakes, right?

Tomato is a good source of vitamin A,C,K, Folate and Potassium. High in fibber, antioxidants and low in calories, cholesterol and fat. In general it’s good for your eye, skin, hair, bone, decrease cholesterol, fight cancer, reduce heart disease, and many many more. Though it’s good for your health, abundantly available, quite cheap, taste sweet and fresh, but don’t eat too much tomatoes because it may cause gastrointestinal problems because of their acidic content,  overdose on vitamin A that can cause nausea or headaches and it might also contribute to an overdose of vitamin C, which leads to kidney stones.

And  here some ways how we enjoy tomatoes.

Add tomatoes to sandwiches

Slice/chop tomatoes in salad and salsa

Description in clockwise manner : Above left : Chicken Caesar Salad in lunch box, Thai Salad with almond in lunch box, and Tomato, Orange, Pomegranate with mozzarella cheese and vinaigrette dressing.

Description in clockwise manner : Above left : Chicken Caesar Salad in lunch box, Thai Salad with almond in lunch box, and Tomato, Orange, Pomegranate with mozzarella cheese and vinaigrette dressing.

Grilled Sardines with tomato salsa

Grilled Sardines with tomato salsa

Made my own basic tomato sauce rather than buy tomato canned. You can use it for pasta Bolognese, pizza or even soup and stew.

Basic tomato sauce made from boiled tomato and carrot.

Basic tomato sauce made from boiled tomato and carrot.

Fasolada, Greek/Cypriot bean in tomato soup.

Fasolada, Greek/Cypriot bean in tomato soup.

Here the recipe for Fasolada  if you want to try make it in your kitchen. It’s delicious.

Tomatoes for breakfast?  Simply just  slice if bread, tomato and cheese, either with halloumi, feta or mozzarela. Ohhh… nom nom nom.. 🙂

So, what is your favorite way to enjoy tomato?  🙂

Sources :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=44

Read also my previous post : The Orange of Cyprus.

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