In celebration of Buñol's famously messy La Tomatina festival, AnOther presents their top 10 tomato facts
Today the tomato, the world's most popular fruit (that's right, fruit), makes its annual comeback for La Tomatina festival in Buñol, Spain. The small town near Valencia has held the tomato throwing event, taglined the "World's Biggest Food Fight", for nearly 70 years, drawing huge crowds from around the globe. Last year around 50,000 people are said to have attended the festival, marking a dramatic increase on the town's usual population of 9,000. The event always takes place on the last Wednesday of August when, for one hour, a reported one hundred metric tons of squashed overripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. The festivities are a week long, so if you don't fancy being pelted by near-rotten tomatoes, respite can be found in a paella cooking contest, dancing, and musical parades.
The festival's origin is still widely speculated, with possible theories for its conception including a local food fight, a practical joke, and even the anarchic aftermath of an accidental lorry spillage.
Here, in celebration of La Tomatina and tomatoes in general, we present our Top 10 Tomato facts.
1) Tomatoes come in numerous colours aside from red, including yellow, pink, purple, black and even white.
2) As part of a scientific experiment, tomato seedlings have been grown in space.
3) Tomato sauce is an unexpectedly effective way of cleaning copper. The salt and acidity of the sauce helps remove copper oxides to transform it back to its former shiny self.
4) Tomatoes are the key to clear skin due to their high vitamin C content. They unblock pores and loosen the top layer of dead skin, resulting in a super smooth complexion.
"As part of a scientific experiment, tomato seedlings have been grown in space"
5) The tomato is a relative of the aubergine, red pepper, cherry, potato, and the highly toxic belladonna, also known as Deadly Nightshade.
6) The tomato was once thought to be poisonous. In fact, while the fruit is perfectly safe to eat, the tomato leaves are indeed highly toxic.
7) Tomato paste is a cheap method for removing chlorine from your hair. If you're blonde and the chlorine from swimming pools accidentally dyes your hair green, tomato paste helps bring back your original colour.
8) A Bloody Mary (Tomato Juice, vodka, salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce) is a well-loved hangover cure. The tomato juice is full of vitamins and the vodka helps to ween your body off the alcohol.
9) The Aztec name for tomato is “xitomatl”, which translates as “plump thing with a navel”.
10) The heaviest tomato on record weighed in at 3.51 kg (7 pounds 12 ounces). It was grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1986. The tomato made enough sandwiches for 21 members of his family.
Text by India van Spall