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Tomato Facts: 7 Things you Need to Know About this Mexican Fruit

ketchup crying tomato funny

Most of us think we know things like the origin of the humble tomato. After all we don’t all run around thinking about tomato facts all day long. (Well some of us obviously do!) But make sure to keep reading because we have some surprises for you today that will be sure to impress your friends the next time you make a spaghetti dinner.

Few vegetables have such an impact in our lives as tomatoes, think about it, they’re everywhere, from salads to pizza, from ketchup to BLT sandwiches. Tomatoes are popular, and not only because they’re incredibly versatile, but because they’re delicious.

Although ubiquitous, we know little about the red, juicy veggies, but not anymore. Read on and learn more about the colorful, sweet and tangy food and love it even more.

1. Tomato Origins (They are NOT from Italy!)

tomato salsa

Even though tomatoes have conquered the world and we couldn’t conceive famous dishes like pizza and pasta without them, they’re actually native to central Mexico, and Aztecs used to enjoy them hundreds of years ago. 

Despite the fact that almost all Mexican food still involves tomatoes, today, China is the largest tomato producer followed by the United States. 

2. Tomatoes are fruits.

vine ripened tomatoes

Tomatoes are not vegetables but fruits. Actually, they’re berries. For the scientific community, tomatoes will always belong to the fruit family but for chefs, who profile agricultural produce by their taste, will continue considering them as veggies. 

The red fruits won’t be part of your favorite desserts any time soon, but you never know, you can find tomato jam in specialty stores around the country, and it’s delicious!

3. People were afraid of tomatoes.

deadly nightshade and belladonna plants

When tomatoes arrived in North America, and the old continent, people steered clear of them. Everyone thought they were poisonous. They weren’t far from the truth; tomatoes are closely related to the deadly nightshade and belladonna plants, common ingredients in witchcraft lore. 

Actually, tomatoes have an active compound called Tomatine that can be toxic in high concentrations, luckily for us, it’s found mostly in tomato leaves and stems. 

4. The biggest food fight on earth.

La_Tomatina Spain

La Tomatina, a traditional festival that takes place every year in Spain, is the largest food fight on the planet. Over 40,000 people throw tomatoes to each other in the streets. 150,000 tomatoes are mercilessly thrown in all directions during the one-hour match. Oddly, people also attempt to climb a waxed pole during the event. 

5. You’re storing them wrong.

tomatoes on table

We all store tomatoes with other vegetables in the fridge’s bottom drawer, but food scientists advise keeping them at room temperature over the counter. Tomatoes go bland and loose flavor intensity at cold temperatures. If you want bright, sweet, and intense tomatoes, then they’re better off where you can see them.

6. That’s a big plant.

large tomato plant
Artem Beliaikin at Pexels

The largest tomato plant on earth covers 919.88 square feet and produces 11,484 tomatoes every year. The plant is in Japan and has the Guinness World Record. On other news, the biggest tomato species is called Big Zac and can weigh 4 lbs.

7. There’s some geeky stuff too.

Tomato Mix Varieties

There are over 10,000 different tomatoes, and they’re not all red. You can find green, white, and even purple tomatoes around the world and they vary widely in shape and size. Here’s a shocker: Tomatoes have more genes in their DNA than human beings. 

Talking about learning something new every day, right?

You might call them To-may-toes, or to-mah-tos. But we can all agree our lives you’d be the same without them.

Chef Deno

Follow my journey as I explore food culture around the world - easily from the comfort of your own home. Proud of your food scene? I travel often and we can plan to meet up so you can share the food culture in your town.

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