By Vanessa Richins
As with all good things in life, there are many superstitions connected to our beloved tomato.
Have you ever wondered why tomatoes were given the scientific name of Lycopersicon esculentum?
It stems from old German folklore. It was believed that members of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, were used by witches to produce werewolves.
This practice is known as lycanthropy. Indeed, the common German word for tomato translates to “wolf peach”. Linnaeus, the man who created the current scientific naming system of binomial nomenclature, recalled this legend and gave the tomato the name Lycopersicon esculentum.
This name translates to “edible wolf peach.”
It is said that if you place a large red tomato on your windowsill, it will scare away evil spirits. You could also choose to place it over the hearth — this is supposed to bring prosperity to the house. Another way to gain money is to place a tomato peeling over your door, which will bring money within four days.
The tomato was thought to be an aphrodisiac, earning it the nickname of “love apple.” Ozark superstition states that seasons with good tomato production are bad years for walnuts.
Using tomato juice on your hair will supposedly cause it to grow faster. A love of tomatoes used to be considered a sign that a person had “cancer-blood” in their body and were hastening the disease by eating them.
Some claim that hanging dried tomato leaves in a window will keep away winged insects.
Are there any other interesting superstitions and legends you have heard of?