What colours do tomatoes come in?
Growing a crop of tomatoes each year is a very satisfying task for many gardeners. Are you one of those gardeners that grows the stock standard red varieties? Or do you like to grow several different colours?
Having a small garden, my tendency is to stick to the tried and true red varieties but in the last few years, I have added a different coloured variety each year as an experiment. The results have been interesting and add some nice changes to my cooking and salads in particular. These also create interest when shared or served up to friends eg. taking a tomato salad to a bbq.
The commercial tomato growers also appear to be expanding their colour palette when it comes to tomatoes. Have you noticed the mixed punnets starting to become a regular feature in the supermarket vegetable department? And the range being sold at the farmer's markets are expanding all the time.
So we thought a blog about tomatoes that are anything but red would be interesting.
Artisan blush (pictured)
Black cherry striped
Indigo gold berries
The mixed colour tomatoes are a great addition to any dish. The colours tend to vary from soft hues to bright and bold. A cherry tomato salad made with these mixed colour tomatoes is very eye-catching or pop a few on a platter and watch them create a lot of interest.
A couple of seasons ago I grew the Artisan Blush and the Indigo Gold Berries (pictured below). Just these two in a dish looked fantastic, in particular the little star shapes created on the top of the Indigo Gold Berries by the calyx.
Patio choice (pictured)
Chef's choice Yellow
In the past, I have grown the smaller Honeybee and Patio choice which are both prolific and sweet-tasting, especially when sun-warmed and eaten straight from the vine.
This year the new addition will be the Chefs choice yellow in my tomato range for the summer. It will be interesting to taste the larger size yellow fruit.
Chefs choice orange
The first crop of orange tomatoes I grew were the Jaune Flamme variety and they were fantastic. Tasty and plentiful with very few blemishes and a great uniform shape. When giving them away to friends, neighbours and family it was interesting to see their puzzled look until I realised that they perceived them to be not quite ripe. Every one of the recipients agreed that they were beautiful tomatoes once they had tasted them, especially the bright orange hue and taste.
Last year, Gerard planted a crop of the Chef's Choice Orange (pictured above) which produced so much fruit the Kings Seeds team were all eating and preserving them. Being similar to a beefsteak, the flesh produces a great paste for sauces and soups. Over the winter they have been perfect from the freezer, to use in casseroles, mince dishes and soups and the flavour adds great depth to all my cooking.
Black from Tula
Black tomatoes tend to be very popular. It seems that once people have tried them, they will add them to their seed shopping list each year. The flavour intensity is often commented on. Put a bowl of mixed coloured tomatoes in front of me and I will always select the black coloured one first for flavour.
Our local farmers market is a great source for the Black from Tula and the Black Krim tomatoes so they always make it into the shopping bag. One slice goes a long way.
The Indigo Rose was introduced into our range a few years ago and is a popular choice for many. The pigment change in the skin, from red to black is quite striking. Now we have the bigger version which is the Indigo Apple.
Aunt Rubys German Green (pictured)
Green tomatoes tend to have a smattering of a stripe or other colour on the skin as opposed to an unripe red tomato that is usually light green all over. It is quite easy to tell when a green tomato is ready for eating by giving it a little press. The flesh should yield a little whereas green unripe tomatoes will be quite solid.
The Green Zebra tomato was one of the very first non-red tomatoes I grew as I was interested to see what the flavour was like. It turned out to be quite tangy but pleasant and eye-catching with the stripes.
The Aunt Rubys tomato is a big beefsteak variety that is probably most recognisable as the tomato used in the southern American dish, Fried Green Tomatoes. Thick slices of the tomato are covered in breadcrumbs and cornmeal and fried, with the slice of tomato staying firm.
Hope this has inspired you to grow some different coloured tomatoes and have some fun experimenting.