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The tomato (see pronunciation) is the edible, often red, fruit/berry of the plant Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as a tomato plant. The plant belongs to the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The Nahuatl (Aztec language) word tomatl gave rise to the Spanish word "tomate", from which the English word tomato derived. Its use as a cultivated food may have originated with the indigenous peoples of México. The Spanish discovered the tomato from their contact with the Aztec peoples during the Spanish colonization of the Americas, then brought it to Europe, and, from there, to other parts of the European colonized world during the 16th century.

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Biologically, tomatoes have seeds, thus they are a fruit! BUT back in the day during wartime, there was a tax placed on vegetables (not fruits). Well tomatoes were really popular, so in order to make more revenue, the US Supreme Court ruled the tomato a vegetable!

Contributed by Hope Hill

Green tomatoes

Contributed by Kathryn Vercillo

I am growing, will it is the end of the season, but mine still haven't ripened. They are on the east side of my apartment, which is the only place I can grow them. So, I don't believe I will have any tomatoes unless I make a greenhouse for them, which it what I may do. I also know tomatoe plants thrive in t he heat. I am learning to get these plants our early. So, next spring, if I still live in my present place I will plant earlier outside. But I love tomatoes in my salads and on my sandwiches. Yum, yum, yum. I am aquainted with people that grow them and these people do not let them go. If they do let them go it will cost me a lot to get them. But I have purchased from these growers and they were great. I still have one not eaten and I will soon devour it before it gets to mushy. I hope you love tomatoes as well.

Contributed by Tim M Mead

I grew tomatoes before a winter killed my plants. To make sure this doesn't happen to you, contain the plant and perhaps use a netting. Also, the more foliage a tomato plant has, the smaller the tomatoes will be, its like the energy that would be used to make tomatoes are instead shunted to the many many leaves. So, try to keep your plants at a healthy size. Regardless, nothing beats biting straight into a freshly washed, sun warmed, home grown tomato. The flavor is far more intense than anything at super market. If you don't grow tomatoes, local farmers markets will provide you with the flavor I speak of. However, note that fresh tomatos wrinkle up faster than supermarket store bough ones, but even wrinkled, they taste delicious.

Contributed by Mariely Mejorado

I am paraphrasing this out of my Home Ec textbook. When studying horticulture, tomato is classified as a fruit. When in cooking, it is a vegetable. This is because a vegetable is a very general term for food plants. Any part of a plant can be vegetable. for example, The root of a plant can be carrots or turnips, the stem include asparagus, the flower include artichoke or cauliflower, and the fruit include TOMATO or cucumber. All different parts of plants, all are vegetables.

Contributed by Mariely Mejorado

Follow these five tips for properly storing tomatoes to retain their flavor and health benefits: 1. Skip the refrigerator ... unless you have already cut your tomatoes. 2. Make sure you get the right temperature for your tomatoes. You want to store tomatoes in an area that is cool but not cold. Aim to store your tomatoes in 55-60 degree temperatures if possible. 3. Take away the light if the tomatoes still need to ripen. If you have tomatoes that you want to use but they aren't ripe yet then all that you need to do is take away their light source. Put them inside of a brown paper bag and store the bag on your kitchen counter, away from heat-generating appliances like the stove. After a day or two, the tomatoes should be ready to use. 4. Store them with bananas. It helps ripen them. 5. The option of freezing tomatoes. It is possible to freeze your tomatoes if you aren't going to use them right away. Just stick them in the freezer whole. When you are ready to use them, run them under cold water to thaw them. You may not get the most nutritional value out of frozen tomatoes, as compared to ones that you used fresh, but it's certainly better than wasting your tomatoes.

Contributed by Kathryn Vercillo

In Italy, it was a custom to grow tomatoes and treat them as flowers, not fruit. They were valued for their decorative purposes and not commonly consumed as food. Imagine giving your girlfriend a bunch of tomatoes, not a bouquet of carnations! This may have to do with the fact that they resemble a poison called nightshade, so people didn't want to risk eating the lovely but possibly poisonous fruit.

Contributed by Cecile Brulé

After reading everything you could ever want to know about a tomato, here is how to utilize them in the best way possible!

Contributed by Amanda Jenkins

Here's to the calorie counters! Tomatoes are good!

Contributed by Amanda Jenkins

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