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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


July 27, 2002 - Issue 66


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You Say Tomahto, I Say Tomayto


The tomato is native to the Americas. It was initially cultivated by Aztecs and Incas as early as 700 A.D. Europeans first saw the tomato when the Conquistadors reached Mexico and Central America in the 16th century. Tomato seeds were taken back to Europe where they quickly found favor in the Mediterranean countries of Spain, Portugal and Italy.

As the tomato traveled north, it was veiled in mystery. The French called it “The Apple of Love,” the Germans “The Apple of Paradise;” but the British, while admiring its brilliant red color, disclaimed the tomato as a food--they believed it was poisonous. This same fear persisted among colonists in the United States until the early 19th century; but in 1812, the Creoles in New Orleans put their cooking on the map with their tomato-enhanced gumbos and jambalayas. The people of Maine quickly followed suit, combining fresh tomatoes with local seafood.

By 1850, the tomato was an important produce item in every American city. People were planting tomatoes in their home gardens, while farmers commercially produced fresh tomatoes throughout the year. When cold weather halted local production, consumers relied on areas with temperate climates to furnish their supply of tomatoes.

In the next issue, I'll share some Salsa recipes with you.

Print, Label and Color Your Own Veggies:

Veggie Labels

Tomato Corn Relish


3/4 lb. (2 medium) fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 1/2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. Dijon style mustard
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. salt


Combine tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Serve with hot dogs and hamburgers.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Fried Green Tomatoes


1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
dash cayenne pepper -- opt
4 large green tomatoes-cut horizontally into 1/2" thick slices
1 egg white -- beaten w/ 2 T. water
Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a shallow dish, combine cornmeal, bread crumbs, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne, if desired; set aside.

Lightly coat a baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray; set aside. Dip each tomato slice in egg white mixture, then dredge incornmeal-bread crumb mixture to coat. Place slices in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Spray tops of slices with vegetable cooking spray.

Bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese during last 5 minutes of baking if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 6servings.

Fresh Tomato Soup


1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
3 tablespoons sliced carrots
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chop
8 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons uncooked rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
thyme, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley


In a saucepan, saute onion, celery and carrots in butter until soft but not brown. Add tomatoes and a small amount of chicken broth. Simmer 20 minutes. In a soup kettle, combine sauteed vegetables, remaining chicken broth and rice. Season with salt, thyme and pepper. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Serve garnished with parsley.

Serves 8 to 10.

Tomato Ketchup


1 gallon cooked tomatoes -- about 1 peck
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 pint cider vinegar
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves


Select good, ripe tomatoes. Scald and strain through a coarse sieve to remove seed and skin. When the tomatoes become cold add the remaining ingredients. Let simmer slowly for 3 hours. Pour in bottles or jars. Process for 15 minutes in boiling water bath.


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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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