The Top 10 Facts About Tomatoes
1. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says there are 25,000 tomato varieties. Other sources cap the number of types of tomatoes at 10,000. (Either way, that’s a lot!)
2. The tomato is a cousin of the eggplant, red pepper, ground cherry, potato, and the highly toxic belladonna (a herbaceous perennial, also known as the nightshade or solanaccae, that has historically been used as both a medicine and poison).
3. Tomatoes are thought to originate in Peru. The name comes from the Aztec “xitomatl,” which means “plump thing with a navel”.
4. When the tomato was introduced to Europe in the 1500s, The French called it “the apple of love.” The Germans called it “the apple of paradise.”
5. The scientific term for the common tomato is lycopersicon lycopersicum, which mean “wolf peach.”
6. Botanically, the tomato is a fruit of the vine. In the kitchen, it is almost always treated as a vegetable. In fact, in 1893, the United States Supreme Court ruled, for the purpose of levying a tariff, that the tomato was a vegetable
7. Among vegetables, fresh tomatoes rank third in popularity with American consumers, after potatoes and lettuce.
8. The key ingredient in 78% of Americans favorite recipes is tomatoes.
9. Supposedly Ronald Reagan didn't eat a tomato for 70 years. His dislike of tomatoes sprang from a childhood prank. He had been given what he thought was an apple, but when he took a bite realized it was a tomato.
10. The highest concentration of vitamin C in tomatoes is in the jelly-like substance around the seeds.