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Tomatoes are now eaten freely throughout the world. Today, their consumption is believed to benefit the heart. Lycopene, one of nature's most powerful antioxidants, is present in tomatoes and has been found to be beneficial in preventing prostate cancer, among other things.
Botanically a fruit, the tomato is generally thought of and used as a vegetable: it's more likely to be part of a sauce or a salad than eaten whole as a snack, let alone as part of a dessert (though, depending on the variety, they can be quite sweet, especially roasted).
Tomatoes are used extensively in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, especially Italian ones. The tomato has an acidic property that is used to bring out other flavors. This same acidity makes tomatoes especially easy to preserve in home canning as tomato sauce or paste. Tomato juice is often canned and sold as a beverage. Unripe green tomatoes can also be used to make salsa, be breaded and fried, or pickled.
The town of Buñol, Spain annually celebrates La Tomatina, a festival centered on an enormous tomato fight. Tomatoes are also a popular "non-lethal" throwing weapon in mass protests, and there is a common tradition of throwing rotten tomatoes at bad actors or singers on a stage.
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