Mossagrow’s Weblog

June 24, 2008

Tomatoes

Filed under: PRODUCT INFO — mossagrow @ 1:39 am
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Tomatoes originated in South America and were spread by the Spanish throughout their colonies.  In Europe in the 1540s, the tomato became known as poma d’oro (gold apple) in Italy; and pomme d’amour (love apple) in France.  Initially, tomatoes were regarded with suspicion, considered poisonous and even worse an aphrodisiac.  This mistrust was founded by their presence in the Solanaceae family, whose other members include the deadly nightshade plant, eggplant, capsicum and potatoes.

Fruit or Vegetable?

Botanically, the tomato is a fruit and so was taxed as one in 19th century America, much to the ire of growers.  Finally in 1893, a law was passed declaring it a vegetable.  However, sweet recipes do exist for their use.  Italian peasants were some of the first people to add tomatoes to their bland diets.  Today, tomatoes are an integral part of many cuisines worldwide – Italy, Spain and the Middle-East all have larger repertoires of dishes which seem inseparable from the tomato.

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