Talk about tomatoes

2017-04-19 06:01

THE origin of the tomato has been traced back to the early Aztecs around 700 AD.

It was not until around the 16th century that Europeans were introduced to this fruit when the early explorers set sail to discover new lands. Throughout Southern Europe, the tomato was quickly accepted but in Britain it was regarded as poisonous.

One theory about this is that "rich people then used flatware made of pewter, which has a high-lead content. Foods high in acid, like tomatoes, would cause the lead to leech out into the food, resulting in lead poisoning and death."

The in the 1800s there was a mass immigration from Europe to America resulting in the blending of cultures -foremost the use of the tomato.

Many Italian-Americans ate tomatoes, but also, and perhaps equally as important, was the invention of pizza.

There is no pizza without tomato sauce, and pizza was invented around Naples in the late 1880's.

The story goes that it was created by one restaurateur in Naples to celebrate the visit of Queen Margarite, the first Italian monarch since Napoleon conquered Italy. The restauranteur made the pizza from three ingredients that represented the colours of the new Italian flag - red, white, and green.

The red is the tomato sauce, the white mozzarella cheese, and the green was the basil topping. Hence, Pizza Margarite was born, and is still the standard for pizza.

An interesting aspect of tomato history is the classic debate - is the tomato a fruit or vegetable? By definition, a fruit is the edible plant structure of a mature ovary of a flowering plant, usually eaten raw, some are sweet like apples, but the ones that are not sweet, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc., are commonly called vegetables.

Botanists claim that a fruit is any fleshy material that covers a seed or seeds where as a horticulturists point of view would pose that the tomato is a vegetable plant. Until the late 1800's the tomato was classified as a fruit to avoid taxation, but this was changed after an American Supreme Court ruling that the tomato was a vegetable and should be taxed accordingly. Whichever - the tomato is still one of the most popular and versatile fruit or vegetable available.

- The Veggie Cage.

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