10 Fun Facts About Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a versatile and popular ingredient found in many different recipes and diets. While technically a fruit, it’s largely classed as a vegetable by nutritionists. Tomatoes are a crowd-pleasing favourite and are a staple ingredient in many meals in many cultures across the world. They also have many health benefits including being a source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.

In this blog, we are going to outline the most fun and interesting facts you might not already know about tomatoes! Read on for more

1. Tomatoes Are Not Always Red

Believe it or not, tomatoes are not always red. Instead, they can come in a variety of colours including yellow, pink, purple, black and even white. We tend to only see red tomatoes in supermarkets due to quality standards, but if you head to your local farm shop or greengrocer, you may just find multiple colour varieties.

2. There Are Over 10 Thousand Varieties Of Tomato

There are thought to be more than 3,000 varieties of heirloom or heritage tomatoes currently being grown globally, and more than 15,000 known varieties in total.

3. Tomatoes Are Technically A Fruit

A tomato is technically a fruit that is sometimes considered a vegetable. The confusion arose after the 1890s when the US Supreme Court named it a vegetable for taxation purposes. A fruit is defined as the edible part of the plant containing seeds, such as a tomato, whereas a vegetable is the stem, leaf or root.

Despite this classification, you’d be unlikely to find a tomato in a fruit salad.

4. Tomatoes Have Been to Space

Yes, that’s right, tomatoes have travelled to outer space. 600,000 tomato seeds went to the International Space Station before being grown in classrooms all over Canada as part of the ‘Tomatosphere I, II, III and IV’ experiments. These experiments happened due to a desire to understand the effect of outer space on seed growth and development.

5. The First Tomatoes were Gold and Considered an Aphrodisiac  

When tomatoes were first introduced to Europe in the 16th Century, they were small, golden and cherry sized. This appearance gave them the name ‘golden apples’. Many European countries took this as inspiration and named them with gold names, such as the German ‘goldapfel’. The French were also convinced tomatoes were aphrodisiacs and named them “love apples.”

6. China is the Largest Producer of Tomatoes

China is the largest producer of tomatoes historically, accounting for an approximate quarter of the world’s total production. The USA and India are the second and third highest producers respectively.

In the UK, British tomato producers grow a fifth of tomatoes bought in the UK, and in peak season, this goes up to half of all tomatoes purchased.

7. There’s Some Guinness Book Of World Records Tomatoes 

The Guinness World Record for “most tomatoes harvested from a single plant over one year” was 32,194 tomatoes harvested between May 2005 and April 2006, and the plant weighed 522.464 kg (1151.84 lbs)!

8. Tomatoes Are Very Rich in Lycopene

Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene available to us naturally. Lycopene is a very powerful antioxidant which is important for the health of the prostate gland in men. It’s also what gives red and pink fruits their colour. Tomatoes, watermelons and papayas. are all coloured with lycopene. There are also some reports that suggest lycopene can reduce and protect against certain types of cancer.

9. Tomatoes are Well-Known for Heart Health

Tomatoes contain some anti-inflammatory properties and are linked to general heart and brain well-being. Tomatoes are also a good source of potassium, which is linked with lowering elevated blood pressure in the body.  Therefore, this works against preventing cardiovascular issues.

10.The Word Tomato Comes from Spanish

The English word for tomato comes from the Spanish word tomate, which itself came from the Nahuatl, the ancient Aztec language, word tomatl.  The Aztec name translated to “Plump thing with a navel.”

Tomatoes are great, ripe, juicy, succulent and a great source of essential nutrients. You can conveniently enjoy them inside our well-renowned Cream of Tomato Soup, available at a range of UK supermarkets.