I was first discovered growing wild on the Andes Mountains in South America.
I am a tomato. I was born in what is now Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador.
I was first used by the Aztecs around 700 AD in cooking and as gifts.
The Aztecs also thought I had the ability to increase fertility.
How I arrived in the Old World is still unclear. Some say I was brought back from Central America to Europe by Spanish Conquistadors.
I don't know for sure how I got to the Old World.
I'm a Spanish Conquistador.
I'm gonna be sick!
When I first arrived in the Old World, people thought I was poisonous. Europeans feared me for over 200 years, because they would get sick after eating me.
It turns out the lead plates they were eating me on were the problem. Since I am such an acidic fruit, I pulled the lead out of their plates, making them sick.
Why'd I have to get such a bad rap?
I became a very popular food in Spain and Italy. In the late 1600s, the Italians began using me in their recipes. The Italian culture was forever changed when they started using me for tomato based foods, such as pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and tomato soups. Without me, we wouldn't even have ketchup.
Today, I am very important in Italian food. Could you imagine it without me now?