The Dutch love tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

Onions, carrots and stir-fried vegetables are also widely sold in our supermarkets, according to a top ten by research agency GfK.

But what do we actually not know about the vegetables we eat most often?

This time in the spotlight: tomatoes.

Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

If you follow the definition of Veggipedia, fruit is the edible part of the flower or the part that develops from it after fertilization.

Then the tomato is a fruit, so fruit.

But in horticulture everything that grows on herbaceous plants is called a vegetable and tomatoes are considered vegetables.

Fruit or vegetables: the Dutch don't give a damn and buy a lot of them, shows the top ten most sold vegetables.

According to Ingeborg Hendriks of RedStar, a tomato specialist who is good for a production volume of 40 million kilos of tomatoes per year, the tomato has rightly been number one on the list for years.

Why the popularity?

"It's an everyday vegetable, you can eat it from early in the morning until late at night. You don't do that so quickly with broccoli, for example."

See also: Recipe: Cauliflower puree with ribeye and tomato with only five ingredients

Ideal for in the car or at work

Tomatoes can be found in sauces, soups, salads, casseroles and even breakfast dishes.

The tomato can also be seen more and more on the lunch table.

"The Dutch ate too few vegetables during lunch. That has changed because of corona, because of working at home we started eating salads more often instead of that quick sandwich."

Tomatoes are also an ideal snack, says Hendriks.

You can take them with you everywhere: in the car, at work.

"At least that's a lot healthier than that bag of licorice."

They are certainly healthy: rich in fiber, a source of vitamin C and low in calories.

And how do you actually store your tomatoes?

Very simple: outside the fridge on the counter.

The moisture in the refrigerator will make the tomato more moldy.

It thrives best in a dry place at room temperature and the quality lasts the longest.

“The tomato is really everyone's friend because it doesn't have a very pronounced taste.

And he is versatile.”

Isabel Boerdam, cookbook writer and food blogger

Isabel Boerdam, cookbook writer and owner of the food blog

De Hippe Vegetarian

, is also a big fan of the tomato.

"The tomato is really everyone's friend because it doesn't have a very pronounced taste. And it is versatile, you can eat it hot or cold."

An indispensable ingredient in the kitchen.

But one tomato is not the other.

"The Honey tomato is a good example of this, the difference in taste between this variety and the 'normal' tomato is immense. That does come with a price."

Boerdam likes to make a more luxurious pasta sauce from these sweet little tomatoes on the vine.

For a smaller budget: bake 'normal' tomatoes in the oven, later add sun-dried tomatoes and puree them together into a rich sauce.

A classic combination: small tomatoes, mozzarella balls and basil.

A classic combination: small tomatoes, mozzarella balls and basil.

Photo: Shutterstock

Make a tomato tarte tartin

A different destination for each tomato variety.

Roma tomatoes often end up in the pasta sauce, small vine tomatoes are delicious in a salad and the beef tomato is suitable for filling with couscous and goat cheese and then putting it on the barbecue.

Boerdam: "The tomato is ideal because you can make something quickly and easily with it. But you can also use it for culinary dishes. Not everyone has discovered this yet. You can

prepare

the sweet vine tomato in the

slow roasted

way, with a long cooking time. in the oven, you get a delicious tomato."

“The coarse, non-round tomato is becoming increasingly popular.

That's actually the kind it started with."

Ingeborg Hendriks, tomato expert at RedStar

Or make a tomato tarte tatin.

Bake in the frying pan with red onion and balsamic vinegar, cover with puff pastry, put in the oven and serve with basil and toasted pine nuts.

Or Boerdam's favourite: the simple skewer with a tomato, mozzarella ball and a basil leaf.

"You can always find that classic on the barbecue table and I can always be found next to it."

Even more types of tomatoes in the supermarket

Hendriks also hopes that the Dutch will start eating more tomato varieties and variations. And be prepared: in the future even more varieties will end up in the supermarket. "The coarse, non-round tomato is becoming more and more popular. That's actually the variety that started it, we started breeding it into the beautiful, round, red tomato." Color variations are also gaining ground and each color has its own taste, says Hendriks. "An orange tomato is sweet, the yellow and pink ones have a bit more of an umami taste due to the acidity. We will see more and more color on the shelves."

Hendriks calls for more appreciation for the tomato. But also for the craftsmanship involved in cultivation. "People often don't know what is needed before the tomato is in the supermarket. We employ seven hundred to a thousand people, depending on the season. It is a lot of manual work, tomatoes do not grow by themselves. We also have 33,000 bumblebees flying around here, without a bumblebee no tomato."