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tomatoesThe tomato plant was first discovered in Peru and the Aztec Indians were the first people to eat tomatoes. Today tomatoes are grown in almost every country in the world. The country that grows the most tomatoes, though, is China. The United States is next and India comes in third place for growing the most tomatoes. Although it is a very important ingredient of the famous "Greek Salad" (Horiatiki), the tomato didn't arrive in Greece until 1818, almost the same time with the potato and at first it was considered toxic. The first tomatoes to grow in Greece were on the island of Syros. Not long after, the petite waterless tomato, similar to the cherry tomato was first grown in Santorini. In 1915 the first canning plant opened in Nauplion, supplied by increasing tomato production in the nearby plains of the Argolis. It wasn’t long before the tomato quickly became one of the main ingredients of Greek cuisine.
Here are some interesting facts about this famous fruit:

  • Pretty much all tomato varieties are red although other colors are possible including green, yellow, orange, pink, black, brown, white, and purple.

  • There are more than 7500 tomato varieties grown around the world.

  • Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that is good for the heart and effective against certain cancers. Cooked tomatoes are actually better for you than raw ones, as more beneficial chemicals are released. Tomatoes are also packed with vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium.

  • The first tomatoes in Europe may originally have been yellow. They were first referred to in writing as “pomo d’oro“, meaning “golden apple”.

  • While many people think of the tomato as a vegetable because of its lack of sweetness, scientists say it's actually a fruit. It's defined as a fruit because it contains seeds and develops from the ovary, or female reproductive organ, of the plant.

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