Toe-mato, Tuh-mato

A bumper crop of varieties

A bumper crop of varieties

The Amazing Tomato

In honor of the bountiful harvest most people here in Indiana are enjoying in their backyard gardens right now, here are some fun facts about tomatoes.  Thanks to Wikipedia, which is of course, the authority on all things tomato.

The tomato is possibly one of the world’s most versatile and misunderstood fruits.  Yes, we said fruit,  since it contains the ovary and seeds of the tomato plant.

The tomato is a member of the nightshade family.  Plants in this family include potatoes, eggplants, chili peppers and bell peppers.  Some varieties, like the deadly nightshade and the bittersweet nightshade, are highly poisonous. Thankfully, tomatoes aren’t.

The Bittersweet nightshade's berries look like tiny tomatoes.

The Bittersweet Nightshade’s berries look like tiny tomatoes.

 

Tomatoes are bad for you?

For many hundreds of years the British and their colonist cousins across the pond thought tomatoes were bad for you.  Meanwhile, the Italians and Spaniards were happily munching on them with no ill effect.

Plymouth Village was a tomato free zone.

Plymouth Village was a tomato free zone.

 

The Golden Apple

The tomato’s native habitat is the South American Andes, but it was first eaten in Mexico starting at around 500 BC.  After the Spanish colonization of the Americas, tomatoes spread worldwide.

The first tomatoes brought to Europe were yellow and were called Golden apples, or love apples.  The Italian word for tomato is still pomodoro, which means apple of gold.

Golden Goodness

Golden Goodness

 

Bonjourno Italia!

The earliest European tomato recipe was published in Naples in 1692.  Thus began Italy’s love affair with the tomato.  We’re not sure what they ate before that!

Caesar never got to taste the sweet, juicy goodness of a tomato topped pizza.

It’s theorized that the fall of ancient Rome had something to do with the shocking lack of tomatoes.

 

Tomatoes Everywhere!

Tomatoes come in thousands of varieties including slicing, beefsteak, plum, cherry, grape, Campari, heirloom, and many more.  Tomatoes are packed with nutrients including lycopene, one of the most powerful antioxidants.  They also contain vitamin A and Vitamin C.

The heaviest tomato ever weighted in at just over 7 pounds.  That’s alot of salsa, and those are some amazing facts about the tomato!

This is not the world's biggest tomato.

This is not the world’s biggest tomato.


TalithaFeaturedTalitha Benner
is a Designer at Blue Pony

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