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Three facts about tomatoes

The tomato, with its juicy texture and vibrant colour, holds a special place in the hearts of food enthusiasts and gardeners alike. Beyond its culinary versatility, tomatoes boast a rich tapestry of history and intriguing characteristics. In the midst of the growing season as we get closer to summer, here are three fascinating facts about tomatoes that we hope you find as interesting as we do!

  1. A Berry Disguised as a Vegetable

While commonly perceived as a vegetable in culinary contexts, the tomato is botanically classified as a fruit. In fact, it belongs to the family Solanaceae, which includes other fruit-bearing plants such as potatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Botanically speaking, a fruit is defined as the mature ovary of a flowering plant, containing seeds. By this definition, tomatoes fit the bill perfectly, as they develop from the fertilized ovary of a tomato flower and contain seeds within their flesh. So, the next time you bite into a juicy tomato, remember that you’re enjoying a delicious fruit masquerading as a vegetable!

  1. The Tomato’s Colourful Past

In centuries past, tomatoes were regarded with suspicion and fear in certain regions of the world. This distrust stemmed from their physical resemblance to the highly toxic plant known as deadly nightshade, which belongs to the same botanical family as tomatoes. As a result, tomatoes were shunned as a culinary ingredient in many European countries, including England and parts of Italy. However, perceptions began to shift in the 18th century, thanks in part to the efforts of pioneering individuals such as Thomas Jefferson, who cultivated tomatoes in his garden and introduced them to the American culinary landscape. Today, tomatoes are celebrated worldwide for their flavour and versatility – which we’re certainly glad about!

  1. A Fruit of Many Colours

While the classic red tomato may be the most familiar variety, tomatoes come in a mix of colours, shapes, and sizes. From golden yellows and vibrant oranges to deep purples and striped patterns, heirloom tomatoes offer a visual feast for the eyes. These heirloom varieties, prized for their diverse flavours and unique characteristics, have experienced a resurgence in popularity among home gardeners and chefs in recent years.

Which fact were you most surprised by? Let us know!