Tomato Food Facts
The tomato is the fruit of a vine native to South America. By the time European explorers arrived in the New World, the tomato had made its way up into Central America and Mexico. The Spanish carried plants back home from Mexico, but it took some time for tomatoes to be accepted in Spain because it was thought that -- like various other members of the nightshade family -- they were poisonous. Some tomato advocates, however, claimed the fruit had aphrodisiac powers and, in fact, the French called them pommes d'amour, meaning "love apples".
Available all year, tomatoes should be well formed and free from blemishes.
It wasn't until the 1900s that the tomato gained some measure of popularity in the United States. Today this fruit is one of America's favorite "vegetables", (it's actually a fruit) a classification the government gave the tomato for trade purposes in 1893.
Green tomatoes will eventually turn red, but will not have good flavor. A vine ripened tomato is best. Refrigerate, but do not allow freezing. The color may be deceiving since sometimes chemicals are used to redden them.
Tomatoes will keep better if stored at room temperature. Also, if stored stem down, they will last longer.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and contain appreciable amounts of vitamins A and B, potassium, iron and phosphorus. A medium tomato has about as much fiber as a slice of whole-wheat bread and only about 35 calories.