Elejo Tomato (Snake Tomato)

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Elejo Tomato (Snake Tomato)

Snake tomato (Trichosanthes cucumerina) locally known as “elejo tomato” is a variety growing mostly wild in southwestern Nigeria. It is mainly found in the states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Edo. This long vegetable, which resembles to a cucumber, is richer in vitamin C, vitamin A and essential amino acids and calcium than the more popular and widespread tomatoes. It is less demanding as far as soil is concerned and thus ideal for southwestern Nigeria.   Snake tomato is used to prepare stews and is added in many local dishes, but is also used locally as a medicine, given its high concentration of vitamins. It used to be widely grown in the 60s and was very common in the local markets but nowadays not many are familiar with this food, especially younger generations. Nowadays attention has shifted to the more commercialized vine tomato, mostly to make paste, leaving snake tomato to grow wild, with little attention to its potential. As a basic foodstuff and vitamin provider snake tomato could prevent malnutrition and help fight the eye diseases, which are particularly prevalent amongst children in the region. Moreover, the cultivation itself would be a further source of income for farmers.

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Territory

StateNigeria
Region

Ondo

Osun

Oyo