How Tomatoes Took Over Your Table!
Did you know that the word tomato originates from the Aztec tomatl, meaning “the swelling fruit”?
There is not much going on in your garden in January, but we can use this time to learn more about your plants. This article will teach you the history of the tomato, tips for growing them and some fun tomato facts!
The History of the Tomato
Tomatoes were first cultivated by the Aztecs in the mountainous regions of South America. They were introduced to the west over 600 years ago by European explorers seeking new spice trade routes. It took many years for the fruit to become common place, and it did not appear in cookbooks until 1745.
During the early 1800’s, Italians considered tomatoes a luxury for the rich and they were grown exclusively in private gardens. Thomas Jefferson boosted the popularity of tomatoes in the US by growing many varieties in his private gardens.
Throughout the mid 1800’s tomatoes became commonly referred to as the “poisonous love apple” due to their striking red appearance and similarities to toxic berries. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the public accepted tomatoes as safe to eat. Ever since, tomatoes’ culinary versatility has led to them becoming a key ingredient in recipes all across the world!
Tips for Growing Tomatoes
Tomatoes are easy to grow, which is part of why they are so common. They thrive in lots of sunlight. Wait until ground temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees Fahrenheit to plant your seeds. A thick blanket of mulch and an inch of water a week will keep your tomatoes happy and healthy throughout the growing season.
Garlic and tomatoes don’t just go together in the kitchen, but also in the garden! When grown together, garlic’s scent will deter pests from your tomato plants.
After you harvest your crop, cut your tomatoes open and save the seeds to regrow next season! Take a look at our guide of storing seeds here.
Fun Facts about Tomatoes
The first domesticated tomatoes were golden. They are still available in a variety of colors including red, white, black, purple and even blue!
Picture from: Garden Myths
In 1984, millions of tomato seeds were sent into space as part of NASA’s Long Duration Exposure Facility project. Space seeds germinated sooner and grew faster than seeds on earth! Take a look at that project here.
Back on earth, the world record for most tomatoes harvested from a single plant in a year was 32,194. The plant itself weighs over half a ton!
Picture from: Dave’s Vacation Club Rentals
We hope you learned something new about tomatoes! From sauces to ingredients and more, we hope you find a place for this fascinating fruit in your kitchen.