About the Crop
Name in Indian languages
Khamen Asinba (Manipuri), Bilati Baigana (Oriya), Thakkali (Malayalam), Tomat (Konkani), Bilahi (Assamese), Tamaatar (Hindi/ Punjabi/ Bhojpuri), Tomato/ Tamata (Marathi), Takkali Pazham (Tamil), Tameta (Gujarati), Thakkali Pandu/ Tamata (Telugu), Vartki (Sanskrit), Ruwangum (Kashmiri)
Origin and Distribution
Tomatoes are one of the most popular and widely cultivated vegetables all over the world and their cultivation stretches from hectares of open fields to small kitchen gardens or in individual pots. The variety in their use from fresh and raw to cooked and preserved makes these vegetable a favorite around the world which in turn makes them a commercially-viable crop. It is actually a fruit and due to its diverse culinary uses, it is wrongly perceived as a vegetable.
Tomatoes can trace their origin to the Andes region of South America in the area stretching from Ecuador to Chile where they grew wild, and later cultivated by the Aztecs in Mexico. The early European world was introduced to it in the 16th century with the voyages of explorers in the American soil. This delectable fruit was first called as ‘golden apple’ and later pomme d'amour' in French, 'pomodoro' in Italian and the 'love apple' in English. However, it was believed to be poisonous in the early years as it belonged to the nightshade family. It gained its edibility status only in the 1700’s in Europe, and found a foothold in culinary uses only in the 18th century. Today, it is part of all types of cuisines around the world.
Tomatoes are not only tasty but they are forming an integral part of modern diet due to their nutritional content. They are rich in vitamins, fibre, minerals, antioxidants and also an important anti-carcinogenic red pigment called lycopene.