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Friday, February 18, 2011

Tomatoes - A little history

After receiving an interesting email about how certain sayings came to be, we also discovered that apparently the tomato used to be considered poisonous, the quote from this email reads:
"Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous."
So naturally, we did a little online research. In our research we found that the above quote from the email we received was from http://historymedren.about.com/od/dailylifesociety/a/bod_tomatoes.htm.  Tomatoes were used as decorative items while people considered them to be too poisonous to eat, they still realized the beauty of the variety of yellows, greens, and reds that the tomato contains.  The plant of the tomato does resemble nightshade which is a highly deadly plant, which helped to continue to perpetuate the belief that eating a tomato would turn your blood to acid.  Also the fact that every part of the tomato plant EXCEPT for the fruit(tomato) is poisonous helped to keep people from eating this delicious delight.

However, with the help of Thomas Jefferson (or so some believe), Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson, and Joseph Campbell the tomato was able to gain the love of people.  Nearly everyone today consumes tomato in one form or another, ketchup, salsa, soup, in salads, on sandwiches, etc.  Hard to believe that a food that is such a staple in our diets today was once considered so deadly.


So next time you have your canning supplies out, and are getting ready to can some tomatoes, take a moment to reflect upon how far this amazing fruit/berry/vegetable came.
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