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The Tomato and Where It Came From

It is believed that the tomato is native to the Americas and may go back as far as 700 A.D. to the early Aztec civilizations. When the explorers arrived in the New World, they were introduced to this versatile food. By the early 1600s, the tomato made it's way to parts of Southern Europe.


The Northern parts of Europe did not take to the tomato right away. In the 1500's a lot of plates were made from pewter, especially in the upper class homes. Foods that contain acids, like the tomato, caused lead to leach out of the pewter into the food. This led to lead poisoning--hench, the tomato had a bad reputation among the wealthy. The poor people of Europe ate from wooden dishes and so did not suffer the same problem. The tomato became known as "poor peoples" food until the 1800s.


In the 1800s, European immigrants brought tomatoes back to the Americas with them and the food blended into the American culture. It became one of the most popular kitchen vegetables after the Civil War and today Americans consume over 12 million tons of tomatoes a year.


One of the reasons the tomato became so popular was the invention of the pizza in the 1880s. Pizza sauce must have tomatoes, see our recipe below.


Tomatoes are very high in vitamin content and though they contain citric acid, they are not acid forming but are alkaline forming when entering the bloodstream. It increases the alkalinity of the blood and helps remove toxins from the system.


Here is our recipe for a simple "make-at-home" pizza sauce:

3 Tbsp. - Butter
16 Oz. - Can of Tomato Puree
3 Tbsp. - Olive Oil
1 Tsp. - Salt
3 Cloves - Garlic, Minced
1/4 Tsp. - Black Pepper
3 Large - Yellow Onions, Minced
1 Tsp. - Whole Oregano
2 Qts. - Canned Whole Italian Tomatoes
1 Tsp. - Whole Basil


In a large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil and slowly sauté the garlic and onions.


Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and puree. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce the heat to simmer covered for two hours. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes with a potato masher as you stir. Continue to mash, stir, and simmer partially covered until the sauce reaches the consistency of a thick soup. Set the sauce aside to cool or refrigerate before applying it to your pizza dough.
Of course, for a really fresh sauce from fresh tomatoes, visit us for some of our wood-fired pizza and save yourself the work!