Everyone in the USA thought tomatoes were poisonous, until one man proved them wrong

By Simple Happy Kitchen news team |
December 15, 2021

Tomatoes were apparently feared in The USA for many years because of a rumor spread early on that they contained tomatine, a chemical compound that could be harmful for humans. Which they do, but not on a level that’s actually harmful.

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a cucumber eating a tomato while an eggplant holds a coffin open

So people just stayed as far as they could from tomatoes until one day, as the story goes, one man called Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson who had a thing for tomatoes decided he was gonna prove their innocence, and he chose to do it in front of a crowd! 

On June 28, 1820, on the steps of Salem, New Jersey’s courthouse, a crowd of 2,000 gathered to watch Johnson...eating tomatoes. There was even a doctor on standby and everything.

Bite after bite, the crowd held its breath in anticipation of the horrible fate that surely awaited him for consuming an entire tomato, but nothing really happened. He then proceeded to eat another one. Still, nothing happened.

Johnson showed everyone that tomatoes were nothing but delicious and according to history, well, the rest was history. The event became famous and tomatoes later became a hugely popular fruit (botanically, they're fruits, but culinary they're considered to be a vegetable) in the US (they comprise 19% of all vegetable consumption, second only to potatoes at 23%) and it’s all thanks to one brave man. Thank you, Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson, the tomato community salutes you!

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