Saturday, September 26, 2015

Seedy Saturdays- The Tomato

Happy Saturday Everyone!  This week I bring you some information on the tomato.

Though thought of as a vegetable, the tomato is a fruit/berry of the nightshade plant.  Native to the South American Andes, the tomato was first used as a food in Mexico and the Spanish were the ones who helped it to spread throughout the world as they colonized the Americas.  There is evidence of tomatoes being grown in British North America in 1710.  They were more often grown for decoration however, not for food, as people thought they were poisonous at the time. 

As mentioned above, the tomato is a fruit, coming from a flowering plant, but is considered a vegetable for cooking purposes.  It has much less sugar than other fruits and because it is not as sweet as others, it is cooked like a vegetable, as a part of a salad or main dish and not in a dessert.  There was quite a bit of protest over whether to call the tomato a fruit or vegetable however.  On May 10, 1893 the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the tomato be legally classified as a vegetable based on the definition that they are generally used as a part of dinner, not dessert. 

A few interesting facts include: that the tomato was called pommes d'amour, meaning "love apples" in French.  In Spain, there is an annual celebration called La Tomatina, where there is a massive tomato fight, and lastly, during the 1800s, people would throw rotten tomatoes as “nonlethal” weapons to inform stage performers that they were bad. 

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