We think the tomato is a vegetable, but it is actually a fruit. Because it is not sweet and is used for providing flavour to food, we think of it as a vegetable.
The tomato is originally from Mexico. The word “tomato” comes from the Spanish tomate, which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word tomatotl. Spanish explorers who went to South America about 500 years ago, brought back the tomato to Europe. The French called them love apples, while the British called them apples of gold. Young men made necklaces of tomato seeds and presented them to their loved ones.
The first people in Europe to eat tomatoes were Italians. As far back as 500 years ago, the joys of eating fried tomato with salt and pepper, was known to them. They discovered that tomato made a very good companion to pasta and cheese dishes.
In other countries like England, tomatoes were thought to have poison in them. That is because tomatoes were related to poisonous plants called the belladonna. But people grew them in their gardens because of their attractive colour and look. They even thought that tomatoes caused fatal diseases. But they soon got over their fear of the trait.
It is believed that the British brought the tomato to India. This was about 300 years ago. Gradually, the people of Bengal started discovering that the tomato gave a good flavour to their curries. Today, the whole world is crazy about the tomato, whether it is in the form of ketchup, soup or curry flavour.