Origin of Tomatoes
wild species of tomato is believed to have originated in the
Andean area of South America, mainly in Peru and Ecuador. It is
said to have been domesticated in Mexico, long before the
Europeans were introduced to the fruit. It was only in the early
sixteenth century that tomato was introduced to the Europeans by
the Spanish people. The Spanish and Italians are apparently the
first peoples to have adopted it as a food. The tomato remains a
staple food for the Italians.
tomato was initially grown as an ornamental plant in France and
northern Europe. Scientists had classified it as a relative of the
poisonous belladonna and deadly nightshade. Therefore, people were
extremely wary of eating it. An interesting point is that it is
only the fruit which is edible. The roots and leaves of the tomato
plant are poisonous.
Europe, the tomato traveled to North America. Thomas Jefferson
raised tomatoes in the year 1871. As early as 1812, the tomato
began to be used as a food item in Louisiana. The north-eastern
states, however, took their time recognizing the tomato as an
edible item. It was only around the year 1835 that the people in
the north-eastern states changed their stance. It took more than a
century for the tomato to become popular in the United States.
tomato plant thrives well in relatively warm weather with much
sunlight. It is grown in hothouses in northern Europe and Great
Britain. In the second half of the twentieth century, United
States became one of the world’s largest producers of tomato in
the world. Italy is another major producer. A large percentage of
the produce is used as processed food such as puree, pulp, canned
juice, paste, ketchup and so on.