Melinda's Garden Moment Radio Tips

Melinda Myers

Nationally known gardening expert, TV/Radio host, author & columnist with over 30 years of horticulture experience and tons of gardening information to share!

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Change things up this Valentine’s Day and consider a meal that includes the love apple.

No I’m not talking about a Macintosh or red delicious but rather a beefsteak, Brandywine or other tasty tomato. This popular vegetable is sometimes called love apple.

There is some debate about how the tomato received this name.  In the mid-fifteen hundreds, an Italian herbalist associated the tomato with the poisonous mandrake plant that was also believed to be an aphrodisiac. Some believed the tomato possessed both qualities.

A less romantic version is that the French misunderstood the Moor’s and Italian’s names for tomato. Please forgive my mispronunciations, the Moor’s called tomatoes pomi dei mori while the Italian’s pomi d’oro. The French called the tomato pommes d’amour which translates to apples of love.

So this Valentine’s Day consider a nice romantic dish of pasta topped with love apple sauce.

A bit more information: Tomatoes were once considered poisonous. They are related to the deadly nightshade. Before the mid-1800’s, only a few Americans were daring enough to grow and eat the tomatoes. Historian Andrew Smith recounts some of the interesting history of the tomato in his book The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture, and Cookery.