tomatos

Topics: Tomato / Pages: 38 (9309 words) / Published: Sep 4th, 2014
The tomato is the edible, often red fruit/berry of the nightshade Solanum lycopersicum,[1][2] commonly known as a tomato plant. The species originated in the South American Andes[2] and its use as a food originated in Mexico, and spread throughout the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Its many varieties are now widely grown, sometimes in greenhouses in cooler climates.

The tomato is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes, sauces, salads, and drinks. While it is botanically a fruit, it is considered a vegetable for culinary purposes (as well as under U.S. customs regulations, see Nix v. Hedden), which has caused some confusion. The fruit is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects.

The tomato belongs to the nightshade family, Solanaceae.[1][3] The plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants. It is a perennial in its native habitat, although often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual. An average common tomato weighs approximately 100 grams (4 oz).[4][5]
Etymology
The word "tomato" comes from the Spanish tomate, which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word tomatotl /aːˈtomatl͡ɬ/.[6] It first appeared in print in 1595. A member of the deadly nightshade family, tomatoes were erroneously thought to be poisonous (although the leaves are) by Europeans who were suspicious of their bright, shiny fruit. Native versions were small, like cherry tomatoes, and most likely yellow rather than red. The tomato is native to western South America and Central America.[6]

Mesoamerica
Aztecs and other peoples in Mesoamerica used the fruit in their cooking. The exact date of domestication is unknown: by 500 BC, it was already being cultivated in southern Mexico and probably other areas.[7]:13 The Pueblo people are thought to have believed that those who witnessed the ingestion of tomato seeds were



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