Monday, September 13, 2010

¿Te gustan los jitomates?

Sometimes Spanish really throws me for a loop.  What seems so simple and straight-forward sometimes isn't.  Like talking about tomatoes.

For most of the five years I spent learning Spanish, I was happy knowing that tomate was Spanish for tomatoe.  And it is.  But so is jitomate

Jitomate is a word you'll hear in Mexico for tomato.   The good old round red tomatoes that we know so well.  And just for giggles, here's a picture.

Now, there is another type of tomato.  You know, what we call cherry tomatoes.

These are called tomatillos.

So there's one more kind of tomatoes we still have to talk about, the green ones.

Guess what these are called?  Tomates.  Or a tomate verde.

Well, wasn't that interesting? But guess what?  It gets better.

These variations on the names of tomatoes vary regionally within Mexico.  I found an interesting thread in WordReference that has a very nice discussion about tomates.  Check it out:


I would have never thought a discussion on tomatoes would be so complicated.  ¡Ni modo!

¡Hasta la próxima!


  1. Hola Rodney. To make matters even more confusing, what you've called cherry tomatoes look to me more like plum tomatoes. My dictionary says that a plum tomato is "tomate ciruela," though it lists "tomatillo" as a Colombian alternative term. And just to confuse things further, El Pequeño Larousse Ilustrado has a picture of what looks like a plum tomato and calls it tomate pera. Go figure.

  2. When I was in Mexico City recently, the menu at the hotel restaurante listed ensalada con jitomates. I had to ask what it was. Never heard that word in all the time I've been living in Reynosa. They were the most delicious tomatoes I have ever eaten.

  3. Jajaja - boy oh boy was I confused the first time I went grocery shopping! It was all backwards!!! Have you wrote about limes and lemons, and lemons and limes!! LOL!