Tomatoes are a versatile and popular ingredient found in many different recipes and diets. This fruit (which is often considered a vegetable by nutritionists) is a crowd-pleasing favourite and an inspirational ingredient in many meals, which is largely because of its many health benefits being a great 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 variation of colours including yellow, pink, purple, black and even white. It is rare to find a variation of tomato which is not red, but it is not impossible.
2. There are Over 10k Varieties of Tomato
There are thought to be more than 3,000+ varieties of heirloom or heritage tomatoes in active cultivation globally, and more than 15,000 known varieties in total.
3. Tomatoes Are Fruit
A tomato is 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, whereas a vegetable is stem, leaf or root.
4. Tomatoes Have Been to Space
Yes, that’s right, tomatoes have travelled to outer space. 600,000 tomato seeds travelled to the International Space Station and back before being grown in school classrooms all over Canada as part of the ‘Tomatosphere I, II, III and IV’ experiments.
5. Tomatoes Get Heavier
Tomatoes increase in weight as they ripen, even after harvesting. Tomatoes are their heaviest when ready to eat.
6. China is the Largest Producer of Tomatoes
China is the largest producer of tomatoes historically, accounting for approximately one quarter of the world’s total production. The United States and India and the second and third highest producers respectively.
7. Tomatoes Are in the Guinness Book Of World Records
The Guinness World Record for most tomatoes harvested from a single plant over one year weighed 522.464 kg (1151.84 lbs) with 32,194 tomatoes harvested between May 2005 and April 2006.
8. Tomatoes Are Very Rich in Lycopene
Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene. Lycopene is a very powerful antioxidant which is important for the health of the prostate gland in men.
9. Tomatoes are Well-Known for Heart Health
Consumption of tomatoes will provide anti-inflammatory properties so they can be beneficial for overall heart and brain health. Tomatoes are a good source of potassium and are linked with lowering the elevated blood pressure in the body. This, therefore, works against preventing cardiovascular diseases, aiding heart health.
10. Tomato Comes from the Spanish Word ‘Tomate’
The English word tomato comes from the Spanish word tomate, came from the Nahuatl (Aztec language) word tomatl. A member of the deadly nightshade family, tomatoes were erroneously thought to be poisonous (although the leaves are poisonous) by Europeans who were suspicious of their bright, shiny fruit in the 1500s.
Tomatoes are great, ripe, juicy, succulent and a great source of essential nutrients, enjoy them inside our well-renowned Cream of Tomato Soup available at a range of UK supermarkets.