Tomato Facts: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:05 What Is a Tomato?
  • 0:35 Controversy: Is Tomato…
  • 1:23 Tomato Variety
  • 1:57 Tomatoes Everywhere
  • 2:56 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Come learn about the tomato! You probably already know something about this food, but there is more to discover. This lesson will teach you about tomatoes, why they're considered fruits, varieties of tomatoes and where they're popular.

What Is a Tomato?

Imagine it's a hot summer day and time for lunch. Your mom slices into the soft skin of one of your favorite foods to put on your sandwich. It's juicy, a little sweet, a little tangy and very delicious. It's a tomato!

A tomato is a juicy fruit, usually red, that looks like a big berry. Most tomatoes grow on vines, though a few kinds grow on shrubs. Many people think the tomatoes grown on vines taste much better, and those types are much more common.

Controversy: Is Tomato Really a Fruit?

While many people think of the tomato as a vegetable because of its lack of sweetness, scientists say it's actually a fruit. It's defined as a fruit because it contains seeds and develops from the ovary, or female reproductive organ, of the plant.

The fruit-versus-vegetable argument is one that still persists today, since many people use tomatoes as vegetables in everyday cooking in salads, sauces, salsas, and so on. This argument actually went to the Unites States Supreme Court in the 1890s. Even though the tomato is scientifically a fruit, the court declared it a vegetable so that it could be taxed the same way as other vegetables.

Tomatoes are not alone! Cucumbers and bell peppers are two more examples of fruits that are treated like vegetables.

Tomato Variety

There are 10,000 varieties of tomatoes grown across the world, providing an array of shapes and sizes of these tasty fruits. And as we mentioned before, tomatoes are usually red. But they can actually come in different colors, including black, pink, white, purple and even multi-colored.

Despite the many different varieties, all have one thing in common: they're high in vitamins and nutrients essential for your body to stay healthy. They're filled with vitamins A, B, C and K, biotin, potassium, and fiber, among others.

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