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What’s All Good About Tomatoes?

Here at McCain we love our tomatoes! After all, we need great tomatoes to make great tomato sauce – a pizza staple! Tomatoes are one of the most popular veggies out there (even though they’re sneakily a fruit), and they’re especially delicious during their peak summer season across Canada.

But, what’s All Good about tomatoes, anyway?

First let’s start with a bit of tomato history:

Confused about why we call tomatoes veggies instead of fruits? Well this is mostly due to an 1893 decision by the US Supreme Court that the tomato should be classified as a vegetable – it wasn’t a wacky choice made to confuse folks though, it was to simplify tariffs on fruits and vegetables at the time. So while fitting the definition of a fruit, but legally considered a vegetable, it’s probably open to interpretation where you think tomatoes belong.

Photo by Shel Zolkewich

Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family of plants, which makes it a distant relative of another McCain favourite – potatoes!

We don’t really know exactly when folks started eating tomatoes, but we do know that by 500 BCE they were already being cultivated in southern Mexico. The earliest reference to tomatoes being grown in North America isn’t until 1710, but once people got to know the veggie, it caught on fast.

There are approximately 7500 varieties of tomatoes that are grown to meet our culinary demands, from cherry tomatoes which are great for snacking and eating whole, to globe tomatoes which are great for slicing. Tomatoes have your menu covered.

Now let’s get to a bit of nutrition science:

Tomatoes are low in sodium, saturated fats and cholesterol, plus they boast a nutritional punch that includes Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, manganese, thiamin, niacin ,magnesium, chromium and calcium. Tomatoes also contain the much-talked about antioxidant lycopene, in fact they are one of the best sources of readily-available lycopene.

Photo by Shel Zolkewich

Antioxidants (like lycopene) help to protect your body against damages that are caused by pollutants and normal aging. There is a lot of research being conducted right now to see how antioxidant-rich food can be used to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other conditions.

Lycopene is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are the pigments that give fruits and veggies their stylish red, yellow and orange colours. Tomatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots are a few fruits and veggies that get their hue that way. Carotenoids can help prevent eye disease.

Where can you find tomatoes in McCain products?

We use tomatoes in the sauce you find in McCain Pizza Pockets. Tomatoes also play a starring role in French Fries’ best friend: ketchup!

Got a garden bursting with tomatoes? First of all, lucky you! Second of all why not try this recipe:

Bruschetta Superfries

1 package of McCain Superfries

2 tomatoes (diced)

1.5 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

1-2 cloves of freshly minced garlic (according to taste)

1/4 cup olive oil


1) Cook fries according to the instructions on the package

2) Mix together tomatoes, spices, garlic and olive oil

3) Sprinkle tomato mixture over fries

Serve warm as-is or add your favourite dipping sauce.