You Say Tomato... I say Tomato!
Tomatoes are a wonderful plant with many culinary applications. Here are 8 facts about tomatoes sure to make your mouth water:
- Tomatoes were first cultivated in South and Central America. In fact, they were not introduced to Europe until the Spanish brought them over from their conquests.
- The English word “tomato” comes from the Nahuatl language spoken by the Aztecs, where they called it tomatl. In Italy, they combined the two words pomo, meaning “apple,” and d’oro, meaning golden, to get their word for tomatoes, pomodoro.
- Tomatoes were not always eaten by Europeans! Tomatoes are related to the nightshade, a deadly and toxic species of plant, and in the Middle Ages people did not eat tomatoes for fear of getting poisoned. Today, we know that tomatoes are completely safe to eat, even in very large quantities.
- Tomatoes are, of course, heavily associated with Italian cuisine. Other than tomato sauce, which is served on everything from pizza to pasta to meatballs, tomatoes are paired with mozzarella and basil in insalata caprese, or served on bread as bruschetta.
- Tomatoes are the second most eaten vegetable in the United States after potatoes. The most commonly eaten source of tomatoes for Americans was actually pizza!
- Even though they are commonly associated with Italy, tomatoes are eaten around the world, from Latin America, where they were first grown, to Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, and even Asia.
- Tomatoes are relatively easy to grow in gardens, and so are a common choice for hobbyists looking for fresh, home-grown produce.
- Tomatoes are technically fruit; however, the way they are used in cooking is closer to that of vegetables. There has even been a court case related to whether or not tomatoes were fruits or vegetables.
Hungry for some tomatoes after reading these facts? Come in to Fazio’s and grab a slice of pizza or some pasta with sauce! Check out our menu here.
Serving Old World Style Pies Since 1980