Tomato culture

If you think you have tried an amazingly nice tomato without having been to Crete you will probably change your mind if you visit the island in summer (when tomatoes grow outdoors). Cretan tomatoes are amazingly juicy and tasty and play a major role in Cretan cuisine. After olive oil, tomato is the most intertwined ingredient with Cretan cooking; the vast majority of authentic cooked Cretan dishes contain tomato juice. This is also a difference between Cretan and Greek cooking; in Greek cooking tomatoes are not used as often and there exist dishes that in Crete are prepared with tomato juice where in the rest of Greece are prepared otherwise.

Tomatoes (and especially so good ones!) are an amazing source of good health and Cretan longevity surely relies on them. They contain the precious antioxidant lycopene in large quantities, a nutrient protecting against cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Furthermore, tomatoes are rich in vitamins K and C, as well as potassium and folate. Cretans consume them in all forms, i.e., raw, cooked or as a sauce.