General Question

Jeruba's avatar

So they always tell us a tomato is really a fruit. Do you ever use it that way?

Asked by Jeruba (52933points) April 30th, 2009

—Tomato pie? (Not pizza or quiche but a sweet pie in a crust, like an apple pie.)
—Tomatoes in a fruit salad along with pineapple and cantaloupe and blueberries?
—Tomato jelly or jam?
—Tomato sherbet?
Do you think you might ever try it? Have you ever heard of anyone who did?

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21 Answers

buster's avatar

I eat homegrown tomatoes like apples. Never store bought though. They taste like shit.

Nimis's avatar

I’ve had tomato sorbet.
Tasty, but peculiar.

I’m also in the Buster camp.
Eat them like apples.
Vine ripened or from the farmers market.

Pol_is_aware's avatar

I refuse to accept tomatoes as fruit, just because of their physical characteristics. They’re composed of vegetable matter. They taste like vegetables. They’re breedable with potatoes. In every function, they act as vegetables.

kenmc's avatar

Tomatoes are technically a fruit, but they are a “kitchen vegetable”, meaning they are used as vegetables despite the fact that they’re a seed containing plant organ.

Supacase's avatar

My grandmother makes green tomato jelly. I have also heard of red tomato jelly , but have never tried it.

astrocom's avatar

Interestingly enough, the tomato was declared a vegetable, as far as US tax law is concerned, by the Supreme Court based on the fact that it is not usually used in the ways you mention (specifically “in desserts).

And actually it isn’t the only “vegetable” (a completely culinary term by the way, no botanical meaning whatsoever) that’s a fruit, peas, cucumbers and pumpkins (and I’d assume other gourds) come to mind.

Darwin's avatar

I have made tomato jelly in the past, and I, too, eat homegrown tomatoes (especially those little grape tomatoes) as if they were apples.

Nimis's avatar

@Darwin You mean like grapes!

dynamicduo's avatar

Well I’ve certainly consumed a tomato like an apple, so in that sense yes I have treated a tomato like a fruit.

Darwin's avatar

@Nimis – Regular tomatoes like apples, (grape tomatoes like grapes), if you want to be precise.

Vinifera7's avatar

I love to bite into a fresh garden tomato with a saltshaker in hand.

I have also had a tomato gelatin with beets and mayonnaise on top before. I didn’t particularly like it because it had a much stronger flavor than anything that I am used to eating.

MissAusten's avatar

Go to and look up the recipe for Green Tomato Cake with Brown Butter Icing. It’s incredibly good, and fun to serve to people who don’t know what it is. They’ll never guess the green bits are tomatoes.

My grandma told me that her mom used to make a green tomato pie that was very tasty. I might try that this year, once tomato season is nearing an end and some of the green ones won’t have time to ripen.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I was just about to mention a great recipe I found on Fluther but @MissAusten already told you what it was. I haven’t tried it but it looks great.

Here is the recipe:

susanc's avatar

Very old fashioned: tomato pudding. Cubed stale bread, brown sugar, layers of sliced red fresh or canned tomatoes, salt, pepper, dried basil, and great huge lashings of butter. Side dish at wintertime feasts. Goes well with roasts, and people love it at potlucks.

Darwin's avatar

@MissAustin – Are you willing to share that pie recipe? It would be appreciated.

Jeruba's avatar

@susanc, how about a complete recipe from you?

MissAusten's avatar

@Darwin, I’m not sure if my grandma ever sent it to me, or even if she has it. I’ll ask her to mail it to me if I don’t already have it, and I’d be happy to share it.

susanc's avatar

@Jeruba: Here you go, honey. I always wing it, but here’s a web-based version that seems good and will give you some good measurements.

Tomato Pudding Kinda Like Susanc’s Gran Used to Serve in the 1940’s

* 1/2 cup water
* 1 (14.25 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, with the juices, or about that volume of
chopped extremely ripe red tomatoes
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon dried basil
* salt to taste; I add pepper, too
* 10 slices white bread, cubed – not too limp, but not gnarly in texture – plus one
additional slice of bread for later (see below)
* a little bit more than 1/4 cup butter, melted; and after you pour the melted butter out
of the pan, use what’s left to make “croutons” (see below).

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly butter a 2 quart casserole dish.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the tomatoes, the brown sugar, basil, and salt&pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, then set aside.
I would actually skip this step; the stuff’s going to merge in the oven anyway.
3. Place the bread cubes into the dish, and drizzle with melted butter. Pour the tomato stuff over all. Cover lightly – it’s nice to let some of the steam out.
4. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven. Remove the cover. Add bread cubes from the saved eleventh slice, sauteed lightly in additional butter, to top of the dish, for crunch and looks, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. This step can be skipped, but it’s pretty.

Jeruba's avatar

Oooh, that sounds so yummy, @susanc! Thank you. I’ve got to try this really soon. <smooch>

MissAusten's avatar

@Darwin: I found it! I have this drawer full of recipes clipped from magazines, printed from the computer, or mailed to me by my grandma. The pie recipe was buried at the bottom. I haven’t made it yet, but I’ll keep it handy for later this summer!

Green Tomato Pie

Pastry for 2-crust pie
4 cups peeled, thinly-sliced green tomatoes
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
4–5 tbsp flour
2 tbsp lemon juice

Peel tomatoes and toss with lemon juice and sugar. Blend spices, salt, and flour, and toss with tomatoes. Place in pastry-lined 9” pie dish. Adjust top crust and flute edges. Cut a couple of slits in top crust to vent. Bake in 425 degree oven until tomatoes are soft and crust lightly browned (about 50 minutes).

Just looking at it, I’d probably sub brown sugar for half the sugar and increase the cinnamon to at least a teaspoon. If you make it, let me know what you think. If it’s nasty, I’ll stick to my Green Tomato Cake. ;)

Darwin's avatar

@MissAusten – Thanks! Later this year when I have a plethora of said tomatoes I will try it.

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