Health | Food

An Entire Continent Used To Be Convinced Tomatoes Would Kill You

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During the late 1700s a huge number of Europeans were terrified of the tomato... the reason may surprise you.

During the 1700s Europeans used to refer to the tomato as the "poison apple"

The tomato was dubbed the "poison apple" because many aristocrats became sick and eventually died after eating them. Everyone blamed the tomato because it seemed to be the simplest and most likely culprit in the matter. But what the aristocrats did not seem to realize is that they were eating most of their food off of pewter dishes. Pewter dishes hold a high lead content, and when you put tomatoes, which are highly acidic, onto pewter dishware, lead would leach out of the plates and into the tomatoes which would then be consumed.

It wasn't until the late 1800s, with the invention of the pizza in Naples, Italy, that the tomato started to earn the reputation that it truly deserved, as a delicious piece of fruit (it's not a vegetable) that essentially goes with anything.

A delicious Naples style pizzaSlice Serious Eats

Even after the tomato surged to popularity in Italy with the advent of the pizza, it still found itself in hot water before becoming a mainstay staple in British and North American food culture. It was still being classified in some circles as a "deadly nightshade", a type of poisonous plant often referenced when talking about witchcraft and magic.  

Death by

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