Things You Probably Don’t Know About Tomatoes

A famous British journalist, Miles Kington, once wrote a quote regarding tomatoes.  He wrote, “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad”.  This is an interesting quote that he developed because it is accurate that a tomato really is a fruit.  In fact, it is what botanists call a “true fruit”.  The definition of a “true fruit” is a fruit whose tissues are completely developed from the ripened ovary of the plant.  Other examples of true fruits include raspberries, oranges, and blueberries.  Below are twenty-five other fascinating facts about tomatoes that may interest and surprise you.

  • The tomato is native to South America.
  • Although the tomato fruit is quite delicious, the rest of the tomato plant is poisonous.
  • There are an estimated 25,000 different kinds of tomatoes.
  • China is the leader as far as producing and exporting tomatoes around the world.
  • Lycopene is the carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color.
  • Lycopene, when applied to the skin, helps decrease people’s fine lines and wrinkles that occur naturally with aging.
  • Tomatoes consist of mainly water, approximately 94.5%.
  • Hernan Cortes introduced tomatoes to Spain.
  • The tomato is the most popular vegetable in American gardens.  Approximately 93% of U.S. gardens contain them.
  • Within the United States, Florida is the leading state as far as growing and selling tomatoes.
  • California is the leading state as far as distributing processed tomatoes.
  • Of all the tomatoes that are consumed in the U.S., 75% are from processed tomatoes.
  • Within the last decade, salsa has surpassed ketchup as the top selling tomato-based condiment in the United States.
  • The acidic nature of tomatoes can be useful in treating acne. 
  • Tomatoes can also be used to shrink pores of the skin.
  • The juice of a tomato can be used to help relieve pain from a sunburn.
  • The heaviest tomato that has ever been recorded was seven pounds and twelve ounces.  It was located in Oklahoma in 1986.
  • The tallest tomato plant that has ever been discovered was in the United Kingdom in 2000.  It was sixty-five feet tall.
  • The state of Ohio claims tomato juice as the official state beverage.
  • The state of Arkansas claims the tomato as both the official state vegetable and the state fruit.
  • The tomato is also the official state vegetable of New Jersey.
  • Cold temperatures, such as within a refrigerator, decreases the quality and the taste of the tomato.
  • In the United States, people eat about 24 pounds of tomatoes per year, per person.
  • Although the stem of a tomato looks very cool, the tomato will actually last longer if they are stored with the stem pointed downward.
  • Worldwide, the approximate production of tomatoes is about 145 million tons.

As you can see, tomatoes are extremely popular among people everywhere.  They are also “big business”, as they create many jobs for people around the world. The tomato is an interesting fruit, that also taste quite delicious.