Posted on 10 April 2011 by

Light Up the Darkness with a Simple Tomato

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Tomatoes are great for salads, pasta sauces, juice, and even as a possible cancer therapy.

But a little known fact about the simple tomato is that it can be used to generate electricity.

Any type of tomato will work but green ones are much better since they are more acidic.

The following information will get you started on this project and dazzle your gardening friends with the magic from the garden.

If one would like to do this with children as a science experiment try testing how much electricity is produced and what types of tomatoes produce the most. To get the hypothesis juices flowing consider testing homegrown verses hydroponics or paste verses beefsteak.


  • 1 medium to large green or red tomato
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Spoon
  • 2 copper electrodes or 4-inches of copper wire
  • 2 zinc electrodes or large paper clips
  • 2 beakers or short glasses
  • 4 alligator clip leads
  • Headphones


  1. Cut tomato into slices and then cut into smaller pieces.
  2. Split the amount of the chopped tomato, including seeds and juice, and place in two beakers
  3. Continue to process the tomato by mashing it with a spoon.
  4. Place one copper and zinc electrode into each beaker making sure they do not touch.
  5. Place one of the beakers to the side.
  6. In the remaining beaker, clip on of the wire leads to the zinc electrode and the other lead on the copper electrode.
  7. Repeat the process with the other beaker.
  8. Hook one set of electrodes to one piece of copper and one piece of zinc.
  9. Put the headphones on and squeeze the wires in the beaker that do not have the other end connected to anything and squeeze together. Place the squeezed wires on the headphone plus and listen. If no sound is heard, move the wire around the plug until you hear an electrical crackle.

This project can be extended to power small electronic devices, a small light bulb or even a buzzer. To do this create more beakers with tomatoes, as described above, and connect them into a complete circuit.

So until we blog again, tomatoes are red, tomatoes are green, one can generate electricity using these. Simply crush these beauties into a pulp to make the acid bubble and suck. Place your electrodes, copper and zinc, into the solution with lead attached. And watch the magic appear in a flash.

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