Tomatoes that we eat today are actually the fruit of the tomato plant called Solanum lycopersicum. It belongs to the nightshade family along with potatoes and eggplant as well. For as long as tomatoes have been cultivated, there has been a debate on whether it is a fruit or a vegetable. Even though it tastes like a vegetable for the most part, tomatoes are a fruit of the plant as evident by the seeds that it contains like a fruit. Still, tomatoes are usually cooked alongside several vegetables around the world to bring out flavor in them. They are also used in cooking different meat dishes. In most cuisines, tomatoes are used as part of salads to bring out a fresh color in them.
Tomatoes are also a staple food for making ketchup which is made by making a puree of tomatoes and certain additives. Tomatoes and potatoes go hand in hand when it comes to consumption with ketchup and French fries being a popular combo across the globe. Apart from that, tomatoes are also used in making marinara sauce, tomato soups and the gravy of the chicken Manchurian. Tomatoes are also used in stews along with onions to bring out the flavor in meat. They are a widely used fruit/vegetable that is cultivated across the globe.
Tomatoes are another vegetable that have a high demand throughout the world. Tomato produce is a lot more spread out as the production of the fruit happens all around the world. The first two countries are from Asia while there are a total of three countries from the continent. Just like with many other vegetable produce China leads the pack with 52.7 million tonnes and then there is India at second place with 18.7 million. China alone accounts for more than 30% of the global tomato production. Iran is the third from Asia and it is at sixth place with almost 6 million tonnes of tomatoes produced annually. Europe also has three countries in the list. First is Turkey which comes in at 4th place in the overall list with 11.8 million. Italy (5.62 million) and Spain (4.9 million) are 7th and 8th respectively. Two countries are from North America. USA is in at 3rd with 14.5 million tonnes of produce and Mexico at 10th place with 3.53 million. Africa and South America both have one country each in the top 10 tomato producing countries. Egypt is at 5th place with 8.3 million and Brazil at 9th with 4.3 million tonnes of annual production.
Uses and Benefits of Tomatoes
Unlike its sister nightshade tuberous plant, potato, tomatoes are widely regarded for their health benefits. Tomatoes are rarely eaten raw without a presence of other vegetables in the form of a salad. However, some tomatoes are so juicy, ripe and delicious when they are cultivated fresh that farmers eat them raw on the job.
- Tomatoes contain lycopene in abundance which is a pigment that contains carotene.
Lycopene also helps in bone development and has antioxidant properties to boost the immune system.
- Tomatoes have iron and zinc which are responsible for producing collagen in the body. All of this is good for maintaining a healthy skin.
- Tomatoes also have folate. It is a substance that helps in DNA synthesis and repair which is of utmost importance in actually preventing cancer.
- They are a very rich source of Vitamin with Vitamin A, B6, C and K all present in the fruit.
- Consuming two tomatoes per day will provide you with 7% of daily recommended fiber intake.
Top 10 Largest Tomato Producing Countries
Below is statistics list of top ten tomato producing countries in the world, according to a survey conducted by world leading statistics organization faostat team.
Note: The figures are rounded off and also subject to change
|Rank||Country||Production in tonnes|
|3.||United States||14.5 million|
In terms of nutrients, edibility and uses in the culinary world, tomato is without a doubt an essential ingredient in our daily diets.
Q : Which Country Produces Most Tomatoes?