Tomatoes botanically speaking are a fruit, but for culinary purposes are considered a vegetable.Tomatoes originated in South America then were spread around the world after the colonization of the Americas by the Spanish. It is interesting to consider that there was a time when Italians didn’t have tomatoes for their pasta sauce? In certain regions of Italy, such as Florence, the fruit was used solely as a tabletop decoration before it was incorporated into the local cuisine in the late 17th or early 18th century as they were considered to be poisonous.
The Aztecs called the fruit xitomatl (pronounced [ʃiːˈtomatɬ]), meaning plump thing with a navel. Other Mesoamerican peoples, including the Nahuas, took the name as tomatl, from which some European languages derived the name “tomato”. The English word was derived from those native pronunciations.