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Showing posts with the label poison

Tomato: The Fruit with the Poisoned History

Like a lot of fruits, vegetables and livestock, the modern tomato looks very little like it did before agriculture.  Before it was first cultivated, wild tomatoes were much smaller, probably the size of cherries, and were most likely yellow.  No one knows for sure because in their native Central America and western South America, no one bothered to keep records of the gradual agricultural development of the tomato. By the time the tomato made its way north to the Aztec Empire, it started to take on the round, red appearance it has today.  The word tomato comes from tomatl ([to ˌmatɬ], or “toh MATS”), originating from Nahuatl, the main language of the Aztecs.  It means “fat water” or “fat thing”.  The Aztecs developed the fruit further, coming up with something they called xitomatl ([ˌʃit o ˈmatɬ], or “SHEET oh MAHTS”).   Xitomatl translates roughly as “fat thing with navel”.  When the Spanish arrived in the New World, this is the version of the tomato that they encountered.