Whether you consider it to be a fruit or a vegetable, call it a “tomayto” or a “tomahto,” the flavor, texture and fragrance of this ‘apple of love’ is delicious, distinctive and unique – and one of the most versatile and widely used of kitchen ingredients.
And despite its bad-boy history of being poisonous or evil, this humble veggie has taken on rock star status as one of the super foods essential for our well-being, energy and vitality.
It has taken center stage because of its incredible phytochemical properties and compounds that are so beneficial for health and longevity.
So let’s explore a bit about its colorful history and the many nutritional benefits of the tantalizing tomato, how to incorporate more into our meal plans, and a couple of recipes to start enjoying their benefits today.
A Bit of Botany & History
This exotic vegetable comes to us via Mesomerica, native to the region in the Andes Mountains that encompasses what is known today as Bolivia, Chile, Columbia and Peru. Indigenous peoples of Mexico are believed to be the first to have actually consumed and domesticated the fruit, which are believed to have been smaller, and of a more golden hue.
Botanically, it belongs to the Solanaceae family of common vegetables, and its botanical moniker is Lycopersicon esculentum. The family name is Nightshade, which also includes potatoes, red and green peppers, chilies, eggplant, cayenne and paprika.
Its more decorative kin are the petunia and flowering tobacco, nicotiana. Also pretty but quite poisonous are the black sheep of the family, belladonna and datura – the ones that give the Nightshade clan its bad reputation.
The Aztec, who had long been growing the fruit when the Spanish arrived, referred to it as ‘tomatl.’ And in the 1500’s the Spanish colonists sent seed back to the old country, which was its introduction to Europe and the rest of the world.
In Italy, a tomato is referred to a ‘pomodoro.’ This is in reference to those early varieties that had a more yellow tinge, as was first noted in European history by Italian herbalist Pietro Matthioli. In 1544, Matthioli described them as ‘pomi d’oro,’ or apples of gold.
And the French (of course) sometimes refer to tomatoes as ‘pommes d’amour,’ meaning ‘apples of love,’ as they were once believed to possess aphrodisiacal qualities. This association with amour came after its initial assessment in Europe of being evil and poisonous, thanks to being categorized with the notorious Nightshades.
Fruit or Vegetable?
The U.S. Supreme Court decided this for us back in 1883 when New Jersey businessman John Nix refused to pay an import tariff for vegetables, arguing that tomatoes are a fruit and therefore non-taxable.
Today, many hundreds of cultivars are available in different types and sizes: organic, heirloom and hybrid are all in use today. And they come in a wide range of colors from the traditional red to various shades of pink, yellow, purple, orange, and even striped varieties.
As they ripen and change from green to red, their acidity level decreases and sweetness increases, as does the vitamin A and C content.
The fruit’s original green color is due to the presence of a photosynthetic pigment called chlorophyll. As the chlorophyll breaks down, additional carotenoids are produced — most notably lycopene, the pigment found in bright red through blue colored fruits and vegetables, and to a lesser degree beta carotene, which is an orange pigment.
Health and Nutritional Benefits
- In nutritional value, they are very low in calories with just 22 per 125 grams, or about 3/4 of a cup – the size of a medium fruit. And, they’re also fat and cholesterol free.
- They are an excellent source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. The fresh fruit, as well as juices and extracts, are often recommended by dieticians and nutritionists for the control and reduction of both weight and cholesterol levels.
- Rich in antioxidants, the compounds present in tomatoes have been found to be protective against free radicals, which contribute to the formation of cancers. (1) They’re particularly effective in helping to protect against breast, colon, prostate, lung, and pancreatic tumors. (3) This is due to their antioxidant properties and inflammation fighting nutrients.
- The same serving size (3/4 cup) provides 6% of daily values for potassium. This is an important component of cells and fluids that helps to control heart rate and blood pressure caused by high sodium levels.
- They also contain high levels of vitamin A (28% of RDA), and are a good source of vitamin C (21% of RDA). And eating foods abundant in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infections and root out harmful free radicals.
- They also carry average levels of important B-complex vitamins such as folates, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin as well some essential minerals like iron, calcium, and manganese. (2)
- Flavonoid antioxidants are abundant as well, such as and beta carotene, xanthins and lutein.
- Lycopene, a flavonoid compound, is a unique phytochemical compound found in fruits and vegetables with yellow, orange, red, blue and purple skins. Together with carotenoids, it helps to protect cells and other structures from harmful free radicals.
- Zeaxanthin is another flavonoid antioxidant found in abundance. It helps protect eyes from macular degeneration as we age by filtering harmful ultraviolet rays.
- Reducing the risk of heart disease is an area of health in which the pomme d’amour is truly exceptional. Their vitamin C content, and more moderate amounts of vitamin E, plus lycopene, are premier antioxidants and heart supportive nutrients with the ability to reduce the risk of lipid peroxidation in the blood.
- Tomato extracts have also been shown to help prevent and reduce unwanted clumping of platelets in the blood – a crucial factor in lowering the risk of heart problems such as atherosclerosis.
- Eating the fresh fruit, and supplementing with extracts, have been shown to have a very positive effect on fats in the bloodstream. Specifically, significant decreases in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels have been shown.
Selection and Storage
Select fresh, ripe globes that feature a beautiful bright red color, firm flesh and blemish-free skin. Avoid those with wrinkles, discoloration, nicks, and bruises or that are overripe and too soft.
Hard or slightly green fruits can be placed in a cool, dark place at room temperature for 2-3 days to aid with ripening. Room temperature toms have more flavor than chilled ones, but ripe ones will perish quickly and should be stored in the fridge. Eat them as fresh as possible to enjoy the full gamut of their many healthful vitamins and antioxidants.
Unfortunately, garden pests are a common occurrence with this succulent favorite. And as such, commercially produced, hybrid varieties are usually subjected to insecticidal sprays.
Always wash thoroughly under cold running water in order to remove dirt and soil. And bathe in a vinegar and baking soda mix to remove any insecticide/fungicide residues if you’re unsure of how they were grown – see our kitchen hacks post for the amounts you should use.
To prepare, discard the stem end and cut into the desired form: quarters, cubes, slices, etc.
The easiest way to peel them is to cut a shallow X in the calyx (blossom) end, then quickly blanch in boiling water, remove and immediately plunge into an ice water bath. The skin will easily peel back to the stem end, which you can carve out with a paring knife.
Tomato Serving Ideas
Tomatoes play an important part in many regionally themed dishes, particularly in Mediterranean, Greek, Italian, Mexican, and Southeast Asian cuisines, and are an integral ingredient in soups, stews, pastas, goulashes, tagines, stir fries, casseroles…
- Fresh fruits are always enjoyed raw in salads for their sweet/tart taste, and they make an excellent complementary flavor to other salad veggies.
- Juice up some fresh pomodoros on their own for a refreshing drink. Or add celery, beets, tart apples, carrots, basil, parsley and ginger for a zippy cocktail. For another option, try our recipe for a spicy bloody mary or a healthy V8-style tomato juice.
- In the summer, make a delicious cold gazpacho soup to start a meal.
- Grill halved or thickly sliced on the barbecue after brushing with olive oil or an herbed vinaigrette.
- Bake halved toms with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and basil, or stuff them with seasoned rice or quinoa.
- Make your own sauce for pasta, stews, soups, etc. We love our recipes for golden tomato sauce and simple marinara.
- Can ripe, whole fruit with celery, onion, parsley and seasonings to enjoy their goodness year round.
- And for the home gardener, what could be better than the first toasted tom and basil sandwich of the season? A slice of toasted, whole grain bread with a light spread of mayo, sliced tomatoes still warm from the sun, some fresh basil and a grating of salt and pepper – mm-mm-mmm. Heaven!
- Enjoy your own sun-dried tomatoes. Dehydrate slices in the sun on screens, or with a dehydrator. Store in airtight containers on their own, or add some olive oil, garlic and basil for a tangy, tasty treat. Use them as an ingredient in our recipe for Sicilian pasta salad!
- Freeze whole as they are, then store in zip lock bags. Add them to soups, stews or goulashes and the skins will slip off easily after being in the hot mix for a minute or two.
- Both ripe and green tomatoes are popular in a wide variety of pickles, relishes and chutneys, all of which make an excellent condiment for meat dishes, with cheese and crackers or used to garnish sandwiches and burgers. Check out the following recipes for savory relish and chutney.
- For a special treat, serve green ones battered and fried – try out our tasty recipe for Hot & Tasty Fried Green Tomatoes below for these savory gems.
Summer Fresh Tomato Relish
Keep the fantastic taste of summer-fresh tomatoes long after the season has passed with this scrumptious relish featuring fresh herbs, tangy spices and malt vinegar.
It’s a great condiment to use with burgers and hot dogs, spread on sandwiches, or to garnish meat, poultry and fish.
It’s not to difficult to prepare using either the water bath method or with a pressure canner.
- 3 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes peeled and chopped
- 2 cups onion peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic smashed and minced
- 1/2 cup celery finely chopped
- 1 tablespoons fresh parsley minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil cut into chiffonade’s
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano minced
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 3/4 cups brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups malt vinegar
- Peel onions by first cutting an X in the blossom end, scalding briefly in boiling water then plunging into ice water. Peel, and cut into cubes then place in a bowl.
- Place the chopped onions in another bowl, then sprinkle them and the tomatoes generously with salt. Cover each bowl with a clean tea towel and leave overnight.
- The next day, place tomatoes, onions and their juices in a large saucepan. Add sugar, stir until dissolved over low heat, then increase heat and boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- In a small bowl, combine curry, chilli, mustard and cornstarch, mixing in a little vinegar to make a smooth paste. Add it and the remaining vinegar to the saucepan and stir to combine thoroughly. Stir in the garlic, parsley, basil and oregano and bring to boil. Reduce heat until gently boiling, and cook uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes, or until thickened.
- Pour into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/2 headspace, seal and process in a hot water bath or pressure canner. Store in a cool, dark cupboard for up to one year.
Don't have garlic press? Not to worry, check out our buying guide to help you find the best model.
This savory tomato chutney is a great way to use up the last of the summer harvest, or any overripe fruit you might have. Serves up very nicely with a variety of hard cheeses and crackers, or as a condiment for poultry, fish and beef.
Make lots: it’s popular and guests will be asking for more! A jar of this chutney also makes a great gift for any foodie.
|6 one pint jars (max 8)||30 minutes|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|70 – 90 minutes||10 minutes (Process time in hot water bath)|
- 2 cups red onion finely sliced
- 3 pounds tomatoes peeled and chopped
- 1 tart apple peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup sultana raisins
- 1/2 cup prunes stones removed, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves smashed and minced
- 4 chilli peppers seeds removed, minced *optional
- 2 chunk of ginger root peeled and finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 5 cardamom seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Place all ingredients in a large, heavy pan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently.
- Simmer gently for 60 minutes, bring to a gentle boil. Continue to cook until the mixture turns dark and thick, with a shiny glaze. Place into sterilised jars leaving 1/2 headspace, allow to cool a bit before sealing and processing in a hot water bath or pressure canner.
- Store in a cool, dark cupboard for up to one year.
Fried Green Tomatoes
These savory gems are delicious at any time, but they’re also a good way to use up any underripe tomatoes at the end of the season.
Crisp and crunchy, they’re great for lunch or as a side dish with any savory entrée. Make our recipe for Buttermilk Sauce to drizzle over the top, or serve it on the side as a tangy dip.
- 4 large green tomatoes cut into 1/4” rings
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley minced
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons adobo peppers in chipotle sauce minced
- 4 green onions whites only, minced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat clean oil in a deep-fryer to 350 F.
- Season tomato slices on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a shallow dish, mix together the flour and garlic powder. In another shallow dish, beat eggs and milk. In a third shallow dish, mix panko with cayenne, paprika and parsley.
- Dredge tomatoes through the flour, then the eggs, and then through the bread crumbs. Add only a few pieces to the fryer at a time, so they can cook evenly, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on a rack with brown paper or paper towels underneath, and serve with marinara sauce or Buttermilk Sauce.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix together the apple cider and brown sugar. Bring to a low boil, and allow reducing until thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a medium mixing bowl combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, adobo peppers with chipotle, lime juice and whisk well. Add in the scallions and the apple cider mixture. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with Fried Green Tomatoes.
Tomatoes are the most flavorful and nicely textured when stored at room temperature. When chilled, they lose both flavor and aroma, which does not return when they’re warmed up.
This is one of the reasons why store bought ones have less flavor than homegrown or those from a farmer’s market.
At harvest time, hit the farmer’s market with a group of friends and have a canning party – share the cost and the labor to enjoy the goodness of ripe, local tomatoes all year.
Tomatoes will continue to ripen off the vine, but much of the flavor will be lost as the mature flavor develops in the last stages of ripening. Commercial growers pick the fruit while it’s still partially green because they ship better, but this is done at the cost of flavor and nutrient development.
When you can, buy locally for the best flavor.
Tomatoes marketed as ‘vine ripened’ can be a bit misleading. Technically, they will still continue to ripen in shipping, and they do have some of the stem attached. However, the stem has been removed from the plant, which is where the flavor and nutrition come from – they really won’t taste any better than ‘off the vine’ produce.
Homegrown tomatoes, ones that have truly been vine ripened, have almost twice as many vitamins as store bought ones that have been artificially ripened, and a whole lot more flavor. That’s how important the final stage of ripening is – again, grow your own, or buy locally.
As if tomatoes weren’t tantalizing enough with their rich, juicy flavor, they’re also exceptionally good for us – all the more reason to enjoy this beneficial fruit/vegetable year round.
Not that I need much encouragement. In fact, I see a plump red Best Boy glowing in the sun right outside my office window, and it is lunchtime, so… pass the salt, please.
(1) PelagiaResearchLibrary.com, Omodamiro O. D. and Amechi U., The Phytochemical Content, Antioxidant, Antimicrobial and Anti-inflammatory Activities of Lycopersicon esculentum(Tomato)
(2) NutritionData.Self.Com, http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2682/2
(3) National Institute of Health,Friedman M, Levin CE, Lee SU, Kim HJ, Lee IS, Byun JO, Kozukue N., Tomatine-containing green tomato extracts inhibit growth of human breast, colon, liver, and stomach cancer cells.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19514731
The staff at Foodal are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet.
Photo credits: Shutterstock.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.
34 thoughts on “Tantalizing Tomatoes: Rich, Juicy Flavor & Outstanding Health Benefits”
I really like tomatoes and always called them a fruit even when others say it is a vegetable! I’m currently trying to grow my own batch since I like the juice and want to make my own for my dietary purposes. I’m having luck since it is still warm in the city and I’m using a large bin to plant since My home is pretty small. I know I won’t be able to have them as large as in the supermarket, But I hope they are a decent size in time for harvest!
Your bin grown tomatoes may not be as big as the supermarket ones, but they’ll certainly taste better! And, you get to control how they’re grown… much healthier too.
Great article! I think I might try the fried green tomatoes recipe. I had heard of it before but never seen instructions as to how to cook them.
Apart from that, it’s great to know that they’re legally a vegetable. Every time they come up and I have to specify whether they’re a vegetable or a fruit, I end up having to say they’re fruits because of the botany angle. Which makes me a little sad. Good to know the Supreme Court backs me up and they are indeed vegetables-at least in America.
FGT’s are very tasty Gustavsson, hope you enjoy them! Being so versatile, I guess you could say tomatoes have dual citizenship in the world of botany.
When it comes to tomatoes, it’s all about the lycopene as far as I’m concerned. The health benefits are well-documented, although I only like them on certain foods. Throw them in guacamole or pico de gallo, and I’m all for it. I can even take a few slices on a burger or sandwich, but I’m not a fan of salads with them. Then there’s always ketchup, although that’s obviously not as healthy by any means.
They’re certainly stars when it comes to their abundant supplies of lycopene and other antioxidants… and every little bit helps when you can work them in to dishes you enjoy.
I’ve never had green tomatoes, but I like that as they ripen, they decrease in acidity, since that’s an issue for me. I love eating them plain, in salads, with pasta, or pretty much any other way. This is a great article, it has an abundance of information I never knew, and I know I’ll be using it for reference in the future. Your relish recipe looks very interesting, as well, so I’ll probably try making that when I get the ingredients/equipment.
Thanks, Diane, glad you found the post informative. And I hope you like the relish when you get around to making some.
I did not realize all the health benefits associated with tomatoes, and most certainly had never heard of lycopene before. I tend to only incorporate them into homemade spaghetti sauces and salads (cherry tomatoes, anyone?). However, I would love to bake tomato halves; one of my cousins had recommended it to me once as a passing reference and I have yet to try it. I appreciate the fried green tomatoes recipe as well as I have been meaning to locate a recipe for that. 🙂
Thanks for your comments Liv6, hope you enjoy the fried green toms and baked halves. They’re very nice with a few herbs any hard cheese grated on top – simple and easy!
Yes I eat tomatoes a lot. I try to keep my histamine levels down and have just realized that they increase that. I’ll be debating my favorite. All of these recipes look really good. The fruit or veggie debate is interesting. The internet calls it a fruit or berry. I never thought about the berry idea. I can see that. It’s like a big berry. I guess the taste of it makes me feel like it is a vegetable It’s so popular.
The relish could put with so many other things like the fried green tomatoes.
It is an interesting debate L2e, but the bottom line is always their wonderful taste and outstanding nutrition… no arguments there!
Here in Georgia a home grown tomato is like gold. The store bought just doesn’t do the trick. Any kind of tomato will do as long as it’s fresh from the garden.
I don’t think it matters where we live karmaskeeper, homegrown rocks!
I never knew just how much people wanted to argue about whether or not tomatoes are a fruit or vegetable. Although it is a fruit, it does get treated like a vegetable. I’m not too sure of any other fruits that also tend to be treated as a vegetable other than maybe avocados. Of course homegrown foods tend to be better than store bought. You don’t have to worry about eating pesticides, lost of nutrients during shipping, and whether or not it’s gmo.
The Mayo Clinic published this a couple of years ago Jasmine:
“The following are technically fruits: avocado, beans, peapods, corn kernels, cucumbers, grains, nuts, olives peppers, pumpkin, squash, sunflower seeds and tomatoes. Vegetables include celery (stem), lettuce (leaves), cauliflower and broccoli (buds), and beets, carrots and potatoes (roots).”
And for health, nutrition and peace of mind, homegrown foods are clearly superior – but, not everyone has the opportunity to grow their own, so store bought certainly has its place in the market.
I love tomatoes and this is the second year I’ve grown some at home. I had no idea that growing them yourself makes them more nutritious, that’s very interesting and good to hear considering I eat handfuls every day! The flavor part is so true, though. Now when I eat out at restaurants and have something with tomatoes I truly notice the difference in flavor! Home grown is so much beter and they’re not very difficult to take care of. I’m looking forward to the end of summer so I can fry up some green ones!
I never knew that tomato could be poisonous! I’m really interested in growing some now that I’ve read this article, for eating! Truthfully, I have never been fond of tomato, but as I grew older I began to slowly accepted. I’ll say its definitely not my favorite, but I do love it in pasta. I’m curious does it take up a lot of space? I remember reading somewhere that its wine like, so can I hang it while growing? What type of tomato would you recommend for gardening?
Thank you Laura, I’ll eat more tomato now that I know of its amazing health benefit. 🙂
They’re easy to grow in pots Tipes77, so not to much room is needed. And there’s now hanging baskets for tomatoes, where they basically grow upside down… very effective for space saving.
I always enjoy planting a few different varieties so they ripen at different times – some early ones like Best Boy or Early Girl are standards and good for salads, Sweet 1,000,000’s are a nice cherry variety and Beefsteak ripen a bit later, but grand for sandwiches. Glad you enjoyed the post!
Home grown’s the way to go if you can dandeliion, the taste is quite incomparable. And as you say, healthier too.
I can really tell the difference between the home grown ones and the ones that you get at the store, and I think more and more lately too. It is kind of hard to get them really fresh though, but I know that it will certainly be some time here now that the frost is coming.
Yup, it’s a sad time of year… I’m down to the last half dozen from the garden, and not looking forward to the store bought ones. But on the bright side, a winter of deprivation makes the first local ones next season all that much sweeter!
These tips are great! As someone who has recently gotten onto the tomato bandwagon, I have no idea what I’m doing. 🙂 I resisted them as a kid, but now that I know there are more ways than just sliced raw or pizza sauce, I’m finding a new appreciation for the fruit.
I’m saving that recipe for the chutney. It looks and sounds delicious, and I can definitely see my family enjoying it. The fried green tomatoes look amazing too. Growing up in the south, I do know these would be a huge hit with friends and family.
It’s never too late for the tomato bandwagon Bonbinski! Glad you found the post helpful – and enjoy the recipes.
I think I’m going to jump in the tomato bandwagon as well, tomatoes really go well with everything. I learned that the recipes are quite easy to make at home as well, so I stopped buying ketchup and sauce. They taste better homemade anyway.
You’re so right fuzyon, they do go well with everything! And homemade is definately tastier… thanks for your comments.
Tomatoes are one of my favorite vegetables. I grow tomatoes in my garden in the summer time and I love putting them in my salad, making bruschetta and using them to make pasta sauce. I think it makes such a difference growing my own compared to buying them in the store. I rarely find fresh tomatoes in the store.
While they have such great health benefits (I heard they even help prevent cancer). I noticed when I eat too many I get heartburn.
Bruschetta and pasta sauce made from fresh tomatoes… I can’t wait for summer! But they are quite acidic, and heartburn can happen – they’re just so darn good, it’s hard to stop eating them. Thanks for your comments KM.
Wow this is a great article! I just finished snacking on some cherry tomatoes a few hours ago. I mixed a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and turmeric together and dipped the cherry tomatoes. It was amazing! I try not to eat too much fried foods, but this fried green tomato recipe is screaming at me!! “Try me!” “Try me!”
Your dip sounds delish phoenix, and healthy! And for a treat, the fgt’s fit the bill very nicely – hope you enjoy them.
I love tomatoes served in pretty much any way, shape, or form. My favorites are Roma, which I grow myself. It was very interesting to read the history about them here, and I found it cute that the Aztecs called them “tomatls.” That’s a fun way to say them and it just rolls right off the tongue. I might start saying it that way myself! I also found it interesting that you said tomatoes have more flavor at room temperature, because I always prefer mine chilled (if I’m eating them by themselves with some salt on them or in a salad anyway, not if I’m cooking with them).
In my books, there is absolutely no better flavor on God’s green earth than home grown tomatoes! Taste is always a personal preference kdb890, so if you enjoy them chilled, that’s the way to eat them… and enjoy your crop of tomatls!
Tomatoes are great in so many recipes, but my favorite preparation is to eat them right off the vine!
Oh yes,agreed bm00, still warm from the sun!