Tomato Varieties - Different Types of Tomatoes
Tomato, Solanum lycopersicum, plants which give red fruit. In use is
also name Lycopersicon esculentum. Although it's botanically a fruit,
culinary it's vegetable, because it's not sweet. Tomato is used in many
different ways in the kitchen, raw or cooked. It is probably derived in
Central and South America. The plant is annual and usually is 1-3m high.
Fruit is a berry which develops from the ovary of the plant. Thanks to
greenhouses, we eat it during the whole year.
The name is from Aztec language tomatl, which Spanish made
into tomate, and English into a tomato. Italian name is Pomodoro, which is
taken by Polish and Russian. Germans called it Paradeisapfel, or "apple of
paradise", which was transferred into Hungarian, Slovenian, and Serbian. In
Iran it was called "Armenian eggplant", and now gojeh farangi , which means
After the 15th century, Europe and Asia heard about tomato, thanks to
Mexicans who first ate it. In Mexico, it existed since 500 BC. It's unclear
how did it reach Europe, maybe by Christopher Columbus or Hernán Cortés,
who captured the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Since Spanish colonization of
the Americas, tomato reached Spanish Philippines and then Asia as well as
Europe. It is known that it was in use in Italy by 1548. In Britain, although existed for long time,
it was believed that it was unfit for eating, even poisonous. The Same case was in North America. The 19th century brought the tomato
to the Middle East, but today tomato is the main ingredient of their
China is the main producer of tomato. Other large produces are India, the
United States, and Turkey.
There are several classifications of tomato and around 7500 varieties.
Tomatoes can be determinate or indeterminate, depending on time of crop, is
it all at once, or tomato continues producing fruits until killed by frost.
Determinate Tomatoes grow in bushes and usually have 60-90cm in height,
while indeterminate are vining varieties and are 1.5-3m tall. While
determinate types flower and give fruits all at once, indeterminate
continue to grow and give fruits at a different time, but produce larger
crops over a longer period.
Now is the most popular Heirloom tomato type (especially
in organic gardening) which can be found in different colors - from common
red to white and purple. Besides productivity, it is resistant to many
diseases and self-pollinator, as well. This type is not a regular hybrid
but have been developed over many years through open-pollination. (Hybrids
are produced by force cross-pollination between two different types.)
Hybrid types are tougher, but Heirloom tomatoes have more flavor. When
gardeners save their own seeds for the next year, they usually plant
heirloom, because the next year it will be an identical plant like year
before; Hybrid's seeds will not give the same plant every year, but plant
with some random combination of traits or even plant could be more likely
to one parent used for combining when hybrid was made.
Tomato types based on shape:
Beefsteak - these tomatoes are large (around 10 cm in diameter) and meaty with thinner skin. This type is often used for
sandwiches. Their color may be red, yellow or sometimes pink. Usually, they
are indeterminate. Varieties are: Big Beef, Brandywine Pink, Cherokee
Purple, Caspian Pink, Hillbilly, Black Krim, Mortgage Lifter.
(also called Roma (Paste) tomatoes, including some pear tomatoes) - they
don't have much juice, but they're high in solids, so it
is usually used for tomato sauces or (like name sais) Italian recipes. They
are 7–9 cm long and typically determinate. Big Mama, Mr. Gallinelli’s Plum,
Golden Milano and San Marzano are this types.
- they have the same size as wild tomatoes (1-2cm). They
are round and have a sweet taste. Its grow in large clusters, even when the
summer is cool. Most of them are indeterminate. Cherry tomatoes are ideal for growing in pots. The most popular are varieties
Sweet 100, Red Currant, Sun Gold, Black Cherry, Sunrise Bumble Bee.
- this type similar to plum tomatoes, but smaller than that kind. They grow
in large clusters, like Cherry tomatoes. Most of them are indeterminate.
This type includes varieties such as Christmas Grapes, Nova, Golden Sweet
and Red Pearl.
- they are specific because of their sweetness. Their size is between
cherry and plum tomatoes. They are juicy with low acidity and high sugar
level. Campari type tomatoes include different varieties, like 'Magic
Mountain' and 'Cornell M'.
Tomberries - this is the small type with only 5 mm in diameter. It is marked as “ the smallest tomatoes in the world”. It is
produced by the Netherlands company Littletom BV.
- their fruit is about 10-15cm in shape of a heart, so in size, they are
similar to beefsteaks. The fruit is in pale pink color. Orange Strawberry,
Amish Paste, Kosovo, Oxheart are types.
- they got their name because of their shape (pear). They belong to smaller
tomatoes. Varieties are Yellow pear, Santorini, Japanese Black Trifele.
"Slicing" (sometimes called "globe") tomatoes -
it's mostly commercial type. They can even be in the diameter 5–6 cm. The
most popular are varieties Striped German, Lemon Boy, Celebrity, Garden
(also called Standard tomatoes) - they are 5-7.5cm in diameter. Because
they are ideal for sandwiches, they have more varieties than other types:
Pantano Romanesco, Green Zebra, Black Zebra, Costoluto Genovese, Sweet
Cluster, Valencia, Carmello, Stupice, Early Girl, Enchantment - are some of
Some of this varieties are hybrids (like Campari), and some are Heirloom
type (like Beefsteak or Pear).
Since first cultivated tomatoes were orange or yellow, and now tomatoes are
usually red, there are types based on the color of fruit, also:
Red tomato varieties
- they have usual, rich tomato flavor. This includes varieties like:
Better Boy, Early Girl, Beefsteak, Beefmaster;
Pink tomato varieties
- varieties with a similar flavor to red tomatoes. Pink Brandywine,
Caspian Pink, Thai Pinks are some of them;
Orange Tomato Varieties
- they are sweet, and these types are Hawaiian Pineapple, Kellogg’s
Breakfast and Persimmon;
Yellow Tomato Varieties
- have a less marked flavor than the red tomatoes. They are Azoychka,
Yellow Stuffer ,Garden Peach;
White Tomato Varieties
- their flavor isn't rich, because they are low acid , like yellow
types. This includes varieties like: White Beauty, Ghost Cherry, White
Green Tomato Varieties
- strong flavor but not strong as the flavor of red type. German Green
Stripe, Green Moldovan, Green Zebra are this type;
Purple Tomato Varieties
(also called Black Tomato Varieties) - this is tomato
with strong, but, some say, smoky flavor. This type are Cherokee
Purple, Black Ethiopian, Paul Robeson.