Tomatoes – From Poison to Pizza

Historically it was the Spanish Conquistadors who brought tomatoes to Europe after many of their explorations. At first it was eyed suspiciously by the Italians, as they are part of the Nightshade family, known for poisonous species. Originally called tomatl the early crops resembled cherry tomatoes, and many species were yellow. The Italian name, pomodoro, means “apple of gold” but they weren’t calling it that until after a lot of tastings, when no one died. It was then that the beloved fruit was welcomed into the local cuisines, as cooks enthusiastically turned it into sauces and dishes throughout the country. Some botanists declared it to be a species of eggplant at first, which lessened the fears a bit, since eggplants were widely eaten in southern Italy already. In spite of its classification as a fruit, it is highly unlikely that anyone embraced it for dessert. The plant took quickly to the mild and sunny climate of Southern Italy, but in northern European countries, it…

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