Thursday, March 10, 2011


Tomato Spice Cake

3 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 cups natural organic sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 egg substitutes equivalent to 2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 1/2 cups golden raisins
1/2 cup orange or pineapple juice

In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt. Thoroughly mix tomato sauce and soda in small bowl; add to flour mixture. Stir in egg substitute, oil, nuts, raisins and fruit juice; mix well. Pour into greased10-inch bundt or tube pan. Bake for 350 °F (45 to 55 minutes. Cool cake in pan 15 minutes before turning out on serving plate. Dust top with powdered sugar. Makes one 10-inch cake.

Tomato and Watermelon Soup with Fresh Basil

2 cups chopped seedless watermelon

1 cup chopped yellow peppers

1 cup chopped red peppers

1/2 cup chopped yellow, red onions

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cupcup rice wine vinegar

For Garnish:

2 cups assorted baby tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2 cup fresh basil

1 cup watermelon, diced

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Strain it through a sieve into a bowl. Stir in the maple syrup and rice wine vinegar and mix well. Note: If you like your soup sweeter, add a little more maple syrup, and If you like it a little more acidic, add a little more vinegar (1 tablespoon at a time). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill overnight or a minimum of 4 hours.

For the garnish, mix the baby tomatoes, fresh basil, and watermelon together in a bowl. Divide equally into serving bowls. Pour chilled soup over each. Makes 6-8 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Felicia Suzanne Willett, 2009

About the Tomato

The tomato, like its relative the potato, has its origin in South America. It was domesticated in Mexico and its name is derived from the Aztec “tomatl”.

Spanish explorers introduced the tomato to Europe in the 1600’s where it was embraced by Spaniards and Italians. Northern Europeans suspected the “wolf peach” was poisonous and only grew it for decoration, though some felt it was an aphrodisiac and began calling it “love apple”.

The tomato arrived in America in the late 1700’s along with all of the myths surrounding it. Adventuresome gardeners, like Thomas Jefferson, helped it gain in popularity. By 1835, tomatoes were widely eaten.

Though botanically a fruit, in 1893 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the tomato was a vegetable (NIX v. HEDDEN, 149 U.S. 304). The import tax placed on vegetables (but not fruits) protected U.S. tomato growers from foreign markets.

Currently, tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables eaten by Americans. Tomatoes are members of the fruit family, but they are served and prepared as a vegetable. This is why most people consider them a vegetable and not a fruit.

Varieties. There are thousands of tomato varieties. The most widely available varieties are classified in three groups: cherry, plum, and slicing tomatoes. A new sweet variety like the cherry tomato is the grape tomato, really wonderful to eat alone or in a salad.

Nutrition. Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and also provide beta-carotene. The National Cancer Institute published a study that showed an association between consuming a diet rich in tomato-based foods and a decreased risk of prostate cancer.

Tomatoes contain large amounts of an antioxidant called lycopene, which may be responsible for this possible positive effect. Tomato paste and sauces contain a greater amount of lycopene, because they are more concentrated than fresh tomatoes.

How to Select. Fresh tomatoes are available year-round, although the peak season runs from June through September. Cold temperatures damage tomatoes, so never buy tomatoes that are stored in a cold area. Choose plump tomatoes with smooth skins that are free from bruises, cracks, or blemishes. Depending on the variety, ripe tomatoes should be completely red or reddish-orange.

Storage. Store tomatoes at room temperature (above 55 degrees) until they have fully ripened. This will allow them to ripen properly and develop good flavor and aroma. Try to store tomatoes out of direct sunlight, because sunlight will cause them to ripen unevenly. If you must store them for a longer period of time, place them in the refrigerator. Serve them at room temperature. Chopped tomatoes can be stored in the freezer for approximately one year for use in sauces or other cooked dishes. When frozen whole tomatoes or chunks of tomatoes are thawed, they do not remain solid and are not suitable for sandwiches or salads.

Preparation. Before preparing tomatoes to eat, cook, or add to other dishes, gently wash them under cold running water. The tomatoes can be simply sliced and eaten on their own, added to sandwiches, or salads, or they can be prepared to be used in other dishes.


Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Vegetable Laboratory, Agriculture Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Hormel Foods Corporation

© 2011 Gertie Loretta Hurley