For starters, here's how to pick a good one: Look for one that is blemish-free, firm to the touch, and noticeably fragrant. It should seem heavy for its size and give slightly under pressure.
Tomatoes are native to South America but spread to Mexico, where European explorers discovered the fruit in the late 1400s and took it home.
Believing tomatoes had aphrodisiac qualities, the French called them pommes d'amour (or "love apples") from the 1600s until the modern French word tomate became more commonly used.
Tomatoes were thought to be poisonous when Robert Gibbon Johnson brought them to Salem, New Jersey, from Europe in the early 1800s. To disprove that notion, Johnson, a wealthy local landowner, ate an entire basket of them in front of a shocked crowd on the courthouse steps on September 26, 1820.
A tomato is technically a fruit because it is a ripened ovary of a plant. But for trade purposes a tomato is considered a vegetable. The identity crisis stems from an 1893 Supreme Court ruling that classified the tomato as a vegetable so it could be taxed under tariff law.
The 1978 low-budget cult movie Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! inspired three sequels, the first of which starred George Clooney.
The largest tomato on record―a whopping seven pounds, 12 ounces―was picked in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1986.