In normal conversation we don't use such short phrase. They are correct grammatically but this is incomplete sentence. In both german and polish lenguages we don't recognize this by verb but other part of sentence some example now, at the moment, always. When we learn english we can't uderstand why you distinguish this by verb, for us this unnessessery complication. ex. Ich trinke Milch jeden Tag (every day) You can't translate I'm drinking milk that will be incorrect.
In German we don't really make a difference between "we eat" and "we are eating". If you want to emphasize that you are eating right now you can say "Wir essen gerade"
As fact in english exist 4(four) present tenses. But only the simple is important. Becouse only it has a verb which shows us an action. In another forms the roule of basic verb is reloaded to auxiliary verbs ( be, have, have been) . I can geve you an advise for beter understanding to learn rusian and try to translate every word not in sentence. ( sorry I have not learned english good enought yet). But I can think about things no matter wich language was used for their description.
Can this mean "we eat tomatoes on a regular basis" or "we don't have a principle against eating tomatoes"? Are there better ways of expressing these ideas? Because this simple present tense form can have many meanings in English, but I'm wondering if they are transferred to German.
I would think it is because you added a word: "the".
The sentence is "Wir essen Tomaten = we eat/are eating tomatoes". If you wanted to say "we eat the tomatoes" it would be "wir essen die Tomaten".
If translating idioms/expressions quite often it is not translated exactly, word by word. But "we eat tomatoes/wir essen Tomaten" is not an expression. Just a sentence stating that" we eat tomatoes". Not "the" tomatoes. There is a difference. :)
Or possibly you had an unacceptable typo that you did not notice.
There's a grammar hint in one of the lessons that states that "fressen" is "to eat" when the subject is an animal (or something along those lines). You can use "essen" as well if the subject is an animal. It would be rude, however, to use "fressen" when the subject is a person.
And again. My russian halps me to understand the difference betwen esse and fresse. The "fresse" word has a tweens in russian. It sounds like "жрать". It is used when we say it together with an animal or with a human ( for example who is realy drunk) or with someone who is realy hated by us and we try to say something rough about him.
"Inanimate objects don't have genders" applies to English. Many other languages, including German, do have genders for all nouns.
For example-der Tisch (m) in German = the table in English = la table (f) in French. You just need to memorize the article when memorizing the word; for example memorize: der Vogel instead of just Vogel. It will really help in the long run. Without it you will have more problems down the road.
Also, in Duolingo, until you are sure you can just hover he cursor over the word and the little window that pops up usually states wether the word is male, female or neuter along with the translation.
In German, do you have to include pronouns when conjugating verbs? For instance: Do I have to say "Ich esse Tomaten" or can I just say "Esse Tomaten"? What if there's a specific person? Can I say "Bobby isst Tomaten" or do I have to say "Bobby er isst Tomaten"?
Also, separate question, why wouldn't Tomaten trigger the accusative, isn't Tomaten the direct object? What is the accusative of Tomaten?