Solanum lycopersicum, as the tomato is officially called, is a member of the Solanaceae family. These are the nightshades, which also include the potato. Many plants in this family are poisonous, but the tomato is very healthy. You can plant tomatoes in beds or in containers on your balcony. There are both climbing tomatoes that need to be tied up and bushy plants that are more suitable for use in pots and containers on the balcony and patio.
Some plants are even sold with a few edible tomatoes already in place. The pre-cultivated plants will treat you to delicious red tomatoes over the summer period.
The tomato plant originates from Central America, where the ancestors of the Incas and the Mayas grew small tomatoes in Mexico. The Spaniards brought the plant to Europe, where it was later discovered in Italy that the yellow fruit (pomo d’oro) were edible. Breeding gave the tomato its red colour.
Vegetable or fruit? It’s always a source of confusion. From a culinary and horticultural perspective the tomato, sweet pepper, cucumber and chilli pepper are vegetables.
Tomatoes can also be easily grown in a pot on the windowsill indoors.
Tomatoes are best stored out of the fridge at temperatures above 8 degrees Celsius, otherwise they will lose their flavour.