Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Or a tool to help witches fly? Tomatoes made their way to Europe from South America in the mid-1500s and got caught up in the ongoing witch-hunting craze. It was rumoured this foreign fruit was used to make an ointment that witches smeared on their broomsticks so they could soar away and cast evil spells. Tomatoes are in the same botanical family as noxious nightshade and hallucinogenic mandrake, but they are really their simpler, tastier cousins. We know that now… or do we? When millions of tomato seeds were sent into outer space in a NASAsponsored science student program, toxic tomato stories went viral. The seeds had returned as fully-formed red and juicy treats, but the pupils never got to taste their experiment. A leaked internal memo from NASA stated there was a chance the seeds could have been exposed to cosmic radiation. Even the company that supplied the seeds warned of poisonous mutations. So the poor pomodoros were pulped. NASA eventually repeated the trial, but to avoid the previous panic, used basil. A harmless herb which actually goes nicely with tomatoes.
Were tomatoes used by witches?