Tomato | Domates
Tomato is believed to have originated in the Americas and was cultivated by Azteks as early as 700 AD. When Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztec city of Tenochtítlan in 1521, he saw the potential for tomatoes and brought seeds to Europe. The tomato grew well in the Mediterranean climate and by as early as 1540 tomatoes were being produced in Spanish fields. By the 17th century, the tomato was commonly used in Spanish cuisine.
Although tomatoes were embraced by the Spanish, other European countries were not as accepting. In Italy, tomatoes were primarily used as a tabletop decoration until late 17th and early 18th century. Likewise, tomatoes were introduced to England in 1597. However, the English believed tomatoes to be unhealthy, poisonous and unfit for consumption until the mid-18th century. Today, Turkey is the fourth leading producer of tomatoes worldwide.
In Turkey, tomatoes are consumed fresh, dried and preserved. Tomatoes with white cheese (beyaz peynir) is commonly served at breakfast. Nearly 30 percent of tomatoes grown in Turkey are used to make tomato paste, tomato juice, ketchup, tomato puree, and chopped tomatoes. Tomato paste is the leading export in the fruit and vegetable industry.
In Turkey, tomatoes are called domates.
Tomatoes can be grown throughout Turkey. However, the Mediterranean region leads the production for fresh consumption. Antalya is the top tomato producing province, growing more than 15 percent of all tomatoes in Turkey. Tomatoes are also widely cultivated in the Aegean and Marmara.
Although tomatoes are available all year, the peak season begins in July and lasts until October.