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Witches, Werewolves, and -- Tomatoes?!

The dark and unexpected tale of this favorite fruit's link to witchcraft.

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They're everywhere, from pasta to pizza to inside most sandwiches, then there's salad!!! You know and love cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes,  and heirlooms, and you know that tomatoes don't have to be red. Did you know that this veget... uh, fruit comes with a spooky link to witchcraft and werewolves?!


According to Atlas Obscura, tomatoes played a role in the European "witch craze" which lasted from 1300 to 1650. Around 1540 tomatoes were introduced from Central and South America. Witches were believed to use a mixture on their broomsticks or on themselves in preparation for flying. This mixture included hemlock, nightshade, henbane, and mandrake, the last three being relatives of the tomato. The mixture's second use? It could turn witches or a chosen scapegoat, into werewolves!


(DON'T be scared, our tomato recipes are delicious)


Tomatoes were relatively new to Europe and thus suspicious, but much of the hysteria was a result of mistaken identity. Not only was the tomato plant similar to that of nightshade, but yellow cherry tomatoes could easily be mistaken for the hallucinogenic mandrake fruit. And of course there was a long history of pointing the finger at someone you deemed a witch and a potent recipe for more fear and distrust. Eventually, the terror of werewolves and witches roaming around Europe died down and tomatoes went on to rule the kitchen.


(WHAT better way to celebrate Halloween than with our bewitching cookies?)