You Say Tomato: Test Your Mater Smarts

Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Chances are good that if you haven't eaten something that contains tomatoes today, you'll make up for it tomorrow. Think you know everything about this tasty treat? Then test your tomato smarts in this quiz.

Where were tomatoes likely first domesticated?

It's generally believed that while wild tomatoes originated in the Andes region of South America, they weren't domesticated until they hit the Central American scene.

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What other produce product is closely related to the tomato?

Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, which also encompasses potatoes, eggplant and peppers. There are also several black sheep in the family, including tobacco, belladonna and jimson weed.

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Are all tomatoes either red or green?

Even though red might be the color that first leaps to mind when someone mentions tomatoes, they actually come in an array of colors, ranging from red all the way to black with orange, yellow, green, pink, purple and white in between. Some are even multicolored.

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Are tomatoes prone to pathogens?

Tomatoes can suffer from a wide range of maladies -- caused by a number of different beetles, fungi and viruses -- such as tobacco mosaic virus, early blight, verticillium wilt and curly top.

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Are tomatoes technically fruits, vegetables or both?

Technically speaking a tomato is a fruit, but in 1893 the U.S. Supreme Court decided to label it a vegetable so tariffs would apply for taxation purposes. Tomatoes are typically rooted firmly in the vegetable camp in the culinary world as well.

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What U.S. state produces the most tomatoes annually?

Florida may have the largest fresh tomato industry, producing about 1.1 billion pounds (498 million kilograms) of fresh tomatoes annually, but California has by far the largest overall crop. In 2008, for example, California tomato processors churned out a whopping 23.6 billion pounds (10.7 billion kilograms) of processed tomatoes. That's almost half of the world's processed tomato production.

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How many pounds of produce can a typical California tomato truck haul?

California tomato trucks typically haul a 50,000 pound (23,000 kilogram) load. That averages out to about 300,000 tomatoes depending, of course, on the weight and size of the particular fruits in question.

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Have modern tomatoes been genetically modified?

Tomatoes have been both bred and genetically modified to encourage a variety of traits. Because of these alterations, many modern commercial tomato crops are more resistant to pathogens, grow larger and fleshier fruit, ripen simultaneously, drop from the vine more easily and have thicker skins -- a good thing for those tomatoes trapped at the bottom of the tomato truck!

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What antioxidant do tomatoes boast of the most?

Tomatoes have loads of lycopene, one of the antioxidants widely believed to help the body fight the damaging effects of free radicals.

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Are tomatoes healthier for you if they're fresh, canned or does it depend on the circumstances?

It definitely depends on the circumstances. Lots of variables affect nutrient levels, among them how early a tomato is picked, whether it's processed, how it's transported and if it's cooked.

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