Monday, June 11, 2012

I Say Tomato

First Tomato of the Year

This is a picture of my first tomato for this year. It is from a plant that was purchased at a flea market in Pickens, SC about a month ago. I kept in on the porch in a pot as an experiment to see if it would grow better, but it is still unhealthy and only produced two tomatoes. I put ashes on the leaves as a deterrent against aphids which actually seemed to work.  

Tomatoes originated in South America and the word “tomato” is Native American which translates to “the swelling fruit.” I have always associated tomatoes with Italian food, so I assumed it was from Europe. What did the Italians use for pasta sauce before tomatoes were introduced?

Prior to starting this project, I probably ate a tomato-based product nearly every day. Americans must consume a tremendous amount of tomatoes in ketchup, sauces, soups and drinks. In 2009 approximately 150 million tons of tomatoes were produced with 35% being grown in the US. I have used the one ripe tomato for the past three days in omelets. Hopefully, I will have enough tomatoes this year to be able to can sauce.

Row of Tomatoes
Here is an excerpt from Foxfire:

Esco Pitts: I never saw a tomato till I was ten or twelve years old. My daddy wouldn’t hardly go to the table if there was a tomato on there. He said they wasn’t a hog would eat’em and he wasn’t going to eat’em.

Other than humans, relatively few animals eat tomatoes. The plants have such a strong odor that I can understand why they avoid them. The leaves and stems contain atropine which is toxic if ingested. According to Wikipedia, the use of tomato leaves in tea has been responsible for at least one death.

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