Where do tomatoes come from?

Person Author: Lajos Szabo Calender July 31, 2012 Posted Tags: , , Comment 3 Comments

Ripe tomatoes

Tomatoes are ripening in greenhouses all over the country by now. The outside crop unfortunately failed again this year at most places as the weather was more than unkind to growing this warmth loving vegetable, or is it a fruit? Everything has happened this year what tomatoes don’t like: sitting in cold water, cold days and nights, strong wind, no sunshine. The above big-bite sized cherry tomatoes are the heirloom Black Cherry tomato, which is one of the tastiest cherry tomatoes you can grow. The fruits are a bit bigger than the Gardener’s Delight for example but still can call it a cherry.

Where they come from?

Tomatoes originally come from South and Central America. Some research trace the tomato all the way back to Peru. Where the fruits were small and green, yellow in colour. The breeding over the centuries made the fruits bigger and red in colour. Nowadays the heirloom varieties are very popular especially amongst us home gardeners; as they produce a more delicious fruit in expense of productivity and uniformity. The exact date of domestication is not know but it is thought that the Aztecs in central Mexico were the first to grow tomatoes for the edible fruits.

Bit of European history

A french botanist gave the Latin botanical name Lycopersicon esculentum which means ‘wolfpeach’ – peach because it is juicy and wolf because it is thought to be poisonous back then. Tomato comes direct from the Spanish ‘tomate’ which comes from ‘tomatl’ the language of the Aztecs’. The ones reached Europe most probably produced yellow fruits as the Italian word for tomato – pomidoro – means yellow apples. The first nation to embrace this truly wonderful plant in Europe was the Italians, where tomato is one of the most if not the most traditional vegetable. In Italy tomatoes were grown from the beginning of the 16th century, while in Britain in the the 1590s.

3 Responses to “Where do tomatoes come from?”

  • Bevughe:

    That’s the same type I planted and mine look like ralguer cherry tomatoes so far, but I’ll keep you posted. Poor guys, maybe they’re just sick of looking like everyone else and wanted to spice things up.I am going to post a gardening question later on today (or this evening depending on my little one’s napping moods) so please drop by and let me know if you have any answers to my problems… I have a cucumber monster and I’m not sure where he is or what he looks like. xo m.

  • Margaret Andrews:

    Really interesting article – thanks. ‘Pomidoro’ is beyond yellow – a ‘golden’ (d’oro) apple in Italian! Interesting to learn that tomatoes may have come from Peru originally.

  • Stewart Wren:

    We always buy Sugar Drop cherry tomatoes (from Spain) from a well known supermarket beginning with T as they are crunchy and sweet. I grew them this year by cutting the fruit across the bought tomato into 5mm slices and covered the two centre slices with 5 mm of soil in a 3inch pot, sown in the propagator in April although slow to grow I potted up at 15mm. They are indeterminate and grew in good sized trusses and although slow to ripen this year they are delicious. Well recommended.

    I enjoyed this article.

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