Word for Wednesday: Tomato

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Our Word for Wednesday theme for November is vegetables.

vegetable is a plant or part of a plant that is used for food. The word dates to the mid-fifteenth century when it meant 'non-animal life’ and was used to describe any type of plant. It has been used in reference to plants specifically grown for food since 1767.

So far we’ve looked at the vegetables cabbage, potato, and courgette. Today’s word is tomato

The first thing to note about the tomato is that it’s not technically a vegetable—it’s a fruit. 

As we explained at the start of this post a vegetable is a plant or part of a plant used for food. A fruit is also a part of a plant that is eaten; however, unlike vegetables, a fruit contains a seed.

So why is the tomato often put under the vegetable category? 

Generally speaking, fruits lend themselves well to sweet dishes, while vegetables lend themselves well to savoury dishes. There are, of course, many exceptions. Carrots, for example, are delicious in both sweet and savoury recipes. While there are certainly sweet recipes that use the tomato, their rich and tangy flavour lends itself especially well to sauces, soups, and slow roasting—all dishes that tend to use vegetables rather than fruits. 

The word tomato has been used in English since 1753 and comes from the Spanish ‘tomate’, which in turn comes from the Nahuatl ‘tomatl’. ‘Tomatl’ is said to literally translate to ‘the swelling fruit’, from ‘tomana’ meaning ‘to swell’. 

Tomatoes are native to South America and are now widely cultivated in many varieties all over the world.


25 Nov 2020
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One of the students has put in a huge amount of effort in completing Spellzone at least 3 times a week since his arrival with us in January. Looking at his scores after the latest GL testing, his standardised score has risen from 99 to 131. This is a truly phenomenal result. I just wanted to share the best result I have ever seen.

Terrie Penrose-Toms, Casterton College

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