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Guest Blogger: The tomato debate

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Photo courtesy Guest Blogger Jean Youn

Photo courtesy Guest Blogger Jean Youn

Is a tomato a fruit or vegetable?

This was a question that was on a test I took in elementary school.

Regardless of its correct label, everyone knows that tomatoes are good for you. Times magazine listed tomatoes as one of the 10 foods that prevent cancer.

photo of red tomatoes

There are many different ways to prepare tomatoes to eat. I however, simply enjoy cutting up slices of tomatoes to eat raw while dipping them in sugar.

I have two different tomato stories to tell you.

Tomatoes were first introduced to the United States during the time Lincoln was president. At the time, tomatoes were only kept as house plants but not eaten. People used to think that it’s bright red color meant that it was poisonous.

I don’t know if this is a true story or not but it is said that because it was thought to be poisonous, it is said that enemies of President Lincoln had tried to poison him by giving him tomatoes. However, it turned out that the more tomatoes he ate, he became healthier. We know today that tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and therefore indeed healthy to eat

The other story I wanted to tell you was about how 100 years ago, it was declared in the US Supreme Court that the tomato is a vegetable and not a fruit. The reason that this went up all the way into the Supreme Court was because in the 1880s, US tariff laws imposed a duty on vegetables but not on fruits. The reasoning that was used to declare a vegetable was that tomatoes aren’t eaten as desserts so therefore are not fruits.

It really doesn’t matter to me whether they are fruits or vegetables because I enjoy them either way.

I feel like people often get caught up in similarly trivial situations in their lives. Tomatoes are a very tasty and refreshing food, why does it matter whether it’s a fruit or vegetable? We spend too much time concerning ourselves with things that don’t really matter when all we should be doing is enjoying a tasty tomato. (figuratively and literally)

I hope that your week will be as tasty and refreshing as a tomato.


Jean Youn is the owner of Value Village Cleaners at 912 West Glenoaks Boulevard in Glendale 91202. For details on services, coupons and more, check out the Value Village Cleaners website here.

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