interesting tomatoes facts

October 28, 2009 | In: Food facts

Tomatoes were first cultivated in 700 AD by Aztecs and Incas. Explorers returning from Mexico introduced the tomato into Europe, where it was first mentioned in 1556.

Because they are closely related to deadly nightshade, tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous!

Spanish explorers first brought tomatoes to Europe from Central America. In Italy and Spain, they were accepted and eaten, but in northern Europe and the colonies, they were grown only for decoration. In 1820, the state of New York even passed a law banning their consumption!

The truth was finally revealed on September 26, 1830, when Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson consumed an entire bag of tomatoes before a shocked crowd on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, New York.

Tomatoes were originally sun-dried due to the absence of refrigeration, freezers and modern ovens. Drying tomatoes in the sun allowed for year round enjoyment of the harvest.

There are thousands of tomato varieties. The most widely available varieties are classified in three groups: cherry, plum, and slicing tomatoes. A

To peel tomatoes easily, place them in boiling water and remove from heat, allow to stand for one minute then plunge them into cold water

Americans eat an average of 80 pounds of tomatoes every year.

Aside from being rich in vitamins C, A and K, tomatoes contain lycopene, a carotenoid with potent antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties.

An average size tomato (148 gram, or 5 oz) boasts only 35 calories.

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