We have already looked at the different tomato plant varieties available to us. So we now need to look at the different types of tomato. There are many different tomato fruit types available to the home grower, some of which are weird and wonderful when compared to the tomatoes we are used to seeing in the shops etc. The main types of tomato are:
These are the closest to the "Normal" tomatoes we see in the shops they are spherical in shape and are between 1 and 11/2 inches in diameter. Generally, the fruits are uniform in size and shape.
These are marble-sized versions of the standard fruit type and in general, come from the dwarf bush plant types.
These are oval-shaped fruit with firm flesh, they have been bred to store well in bottles or cans which means that they also freeze well.
These have very tasty fruits but are large and generally have irregular shapes
These have good flavoured fruits with firm flesh and are cone-shaped.
These are the really large-fruited varieties so loved by the fast food restaurants. However, because of their large size, they do need the right climate as they take so much longer to mature and ripen. This can only be achieved in a greenhouse if growing in the UK.
As if the variety of plant and fruit types wasn't enough to consider when which to grow, we now need to look at the colour of the tomato fruit. Most people think of tomatoes as being mid red, which is easy to understand as generally the only tomatoes available for sale in the shops are of this colour.
However, there is a wide range of colours available to the home grower ranging from deep red, through orange to bright yellow. Some of the more unusual varieties are striped and others are still green when ripe. The colour of the tomato fruit has very little to do with the flavour (provided that the fruit has matured fully and is ripe) as the flavour has more to do with the variety and growing conditions.
Tomato Grafted Plants - Shirley
available from "Suttons Seeds"
Heirloom Tomatoes (Heritage Tomatoes)
Finally to complete this discussion of tomato varieties we need to look at Heirloom Tomatoes. What are heirloom tomatoes? Well, the term heirloom in this instance means old variety, some of which have been lost in that ever onwards march called progress. However, while progress in new varieties of tomatoes has meant better disease resistance and better cropping it has in some peoples opinion come at the expense of flavour.
Now the flavour of heirloom tomatoes is somewhat different to that of the modern varieties, this does not mean that they are bad just different. If you are only used to the taste of shop-bought tomatoes then the taste of an heirloom tomato can be quite a shock, but the good side is they do not really need salt or pepper to improve the taste. The range of flavours of heirloom tomatoes is much wider than the more modern varieties so just because you have tried one and not liked it should not mean that you reject them all.