Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Carrot vs. tomato: and the winner is ...


Our local television and radio stations – public as well as commercial – like to include some ‘insolite’ (unusual, out of the ordinary) topics in the daily news. I guess it’s done in an attempt to make us forget the gloomy, sordid and bad news and horrible images they’ve shown before. Very often these topics are really hilarious and on other occasions they are just interesting and surprising … surprising enough to make you wonder ‘Why?’

Last Monday the item that made the headlines was: “Carrots more popular than tomatoes!” Tell me, have you ever consciously asked yourself which is the most popular/most bought/consumed vegetable in your country? Well, here in Belgium, apparently, the tomato has been pushed from it long-held throne by the humble carrot.

An assortment of different types of tomatoes,
on special offer in our supermarket today.
It looked promising but turned out to be a bad buy as 25% of the tomatoes were already soggy and showing spots of decay when I removed the plastic film.

If we are to believe the researchers who are responsible for this scientifically challenging study, price has nothing to do with it. The real reason is the versatility. Carrots can be consumed in more ways than tomatoes; raw ‘sur le pouce’ (simply washed or peeled), grated, glazed, mashed with or without potatoes, as soup ingredient, etc.  They store very well too. If you have a cellar, you can even put them in a box filled with soil, with just the top sticking out. That way you can keep them for weeks or even months.

Tomatoes are delicious. They are versatile too: raw, in a salad with some spring onions and olive oil, as a vegetarian Carpaccio, stuffed with minced meat, and there is nothing as comforting as tomato soup … but in the latter case you would mostly use canned tomatoes, unless you have a large crop that you want to use in the most efficient and delectable way. But one would rarely buy fresh tomatoes to make soup. It seems such a waste … And finally, there is the storage problem. Unless you make tomato sauce, dry the tomatoes or make ketchup, fresh tomatoes just don’t have a long life span.

So the carrot has taken over! Maybe the economical crisis has something to do with it. Or maybe it’s simply because our taste buds have changed. What do you think?

Btw, guess which vegetable has really lost most of its popularity here in Belgium? I’ll give you a hint, just in case you want to surf the internet to find the answer: The fresh ‘primeurs’ which will come into season soon, are grown in the region of Mechelen, halfway between Brussels and Antwerp.

13 comments:

Craig said...

I think it's because of the tough winter Martine. Too many children using carrots as noses for snowmen!

ladybird said...

Craig, You are too funny .... And I mean: funny 'hahahah', not 'funny perculiar' :))

GaynorB said...

I would choose tomatoes, although I am partial to some carrot and coriander soup...

ladybird said...

Gaynor, I like both. But I prefer carrots in winter and tomatoes in spring and summer.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I would choose tomatoes too...

Nadege said...

I am with you on this Martine. Carrots in winter and tomatoes in summer.
I had to read the last paragraph twice. I know it couldn't be belgian endives as they come in season in winter (I think). Could it be the asparagus (because they are in season right now here), artichokes, cauliflower?

VirginiaC said...

So sorry about the bad tomatoes that were purchased...very nice packaging.
I hope you returned them to the supermarket for a refund.
I prefer carrots to tomatoes because I can do so much more with them.
I mostly use tomatoes in salads.

Bob said...

brussel sprouts

chm said...

Even though I love carrots, I'd give all the carrots of the world for just one big ripe, juicy, red tomato just picked up from the vine. But that doesn't happen any longer when you don't grow your own tomatoes. And the season is rather short. Store bought tomatoes are just tasteless, where ever they come from!

On the other hand carrots are always ripe and in good condition all year round. You never have to wait for them to be in season and, as you say Martine, they can be prepared in so many different ways.

Don't tell me that it's the chicon that is geting out of favor! Bob suggested Choux de Bruxelles!

Louise said...

I have had wonderful carrots, and seasonal tomatoes, during my sojourn in the south of France and the clear choice for me is the tomato...but I do agree that nothing beats the fruit picked from a home vegetable patch

Jean said...

I would find it impossible to choose between carrots and tomatoes and couldn't live without both of them! We probably equal amounts but more fresh carrots and a lot of tinned tomatoes in cooking.
I think it might be the long winter and the need for hot dinners as opposed to fresh salads that has caused the shift in popularity.

I did a bit of googling and think the least popular vegetable might be.......asparagus ??

ladybird said...

Anne, Excellent choice.

Nadege, Excellent guess ... the answer is ...

Virginia, Goes to show that a nice packaging is not always a sign of freshness.

Bob, Good and logical guess ... but no, sorry.

Chm, The 'chicon' is still on top of the list of the best liked vegetables, although not everybody likes their bitter taste.

Louise, My grandfather had a large vegetable garden, but never planted any tomatoes. I guess they were not in fashion in those days.

Jean, Asparagus are in season right now and are grown in the said region. But no ... the answer is .....


... the cauliflower. Congratulations to Nadege!!!

Nadege said...

I am amazed I won! I love cauliflower, even raw with hummus, or slightly cooked with some nutmeg on top, or roasted, it is delicious!