Since its first introduction by the Spanish, tomatoes have become beloved parts of international cuisines. Various types of tomatoes come in 7,500 individual varieties, with diverse sizes, colors, and flavors.
Make sure you know your tomatoes when picking them at the market.
Indeterminate VS Determinate Tomatoes
Tomato varieties come as indeterminate and determinate plants.
Determinate means the tomatoes grow only until they ripen, resulting in compact plants and small fruits. Because of their small sizes, determinate tomatoes are popular as planter vegetables.
Indeterminate plants grow and produce fruit until frost kills them. They produce long vines and large fruits, so farmers or gardeners must place stakes to support them.
They are ideal for vegetable fields, although you can also grow them in a decent-sized yard garden.
Hybrid VS Heirloom Tomatoes
The term “hybrid” refers to common tomatoes you mostly see in the markets. These tomatoes have thick skin, which is useful to withstand the weight of other tomatoes when stacked.
They stay fresh longer on the shelves, and most have large sizes.
Heirloom tomatoes come from the same generations of seeds. They have thinner skins than hybrid tomatoes, and they cannot stay fresh long.
However, heirloom tomatoes have pronounced, delicious taste you rarely taste from hybrid tomatoes.
Most kinds of tomatoes you see in the market are hybrid, but heirloom tomatoes may appear as specialty products.
Types of Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are among the most popular types among gardeners, chefs, and foodies.
They have bright colors and sweet taste, with just a hint of sourness. They are perfect for salad, garnish, and side dishes for dishes like steak.
1. Super Sweet 100
Super Sweet 100 grows in big, ripe clusters. They are indeterminate, able to produce fruits until the frost comes.
Despite the small fruits, the vines can grow to 10 feet tall. Super Sweet 100 tomatoes have a fresh, juicy, sweet flavor, perfect for fresh consumption.
2. Sun Gold
Sun Gold has yellow and bright orange colors, which look brilliant when the fruits grow in clusters.
These tomatoes are not as sweet as the previous type, but it has a slight, pleasant tartness. Pick them during the late season so you can get sweeter fruits.
3. Black Pearl Cherry
Black Pearl Cherry has reddish black color, which makes these tomatoes look dramatic. Despite the color, this black tomato variety is very sweet and juicy. You can eat it just like that.
4. Napa Grape
Napa Grape tomatoes taste similar to the larger varieties. They are sweet and sour, with a little intensity in the flavor combination. You can use them as a sandwich filling or salad garnish.
Types of Salad Tomatoes
Salad tomatoes usually combine sweet, sour, and a subtle earthy flavor. They are usually large, suitable for easy cutting, and juicy.
1. Pantano Romanesco
Pantano Romanesco is known as the “steak of the tomatoes.”
The tomatoes have iconic ribbed appearances, with bright red color when ripened. The interiors are very juicy and “meaty,” perfect to add textures to a salad.
2. Costoluto Genovese
A classic variety from 19th century Italy, Costoluto Genovese has more prominent ribs than Romanesco, with even more crooked surface.
The shape mirrors the intense, juicy flavor inside. Italians use these tomatoes for fresh consumption and drying.
3. Green Zebra
Green Zebra tomatoes have a unique green color with thin yellow stripes.
The color makes it hard to tell whether the tomatoes are ripe or not. You can do this by squeezing the tomatoes (the ripe ones are a little bouncy) and observing the stripes (yellow means ripe).
4. Italian Ice
Italian Ice has a beautiful pale, ivory color when ripened. Despite the color, these tomatoes have an intensely sweet flavor. Once the fruits appear, they will keep growing until the signs of the first frost.
Types of Beefsteak Tomatoes
Beefsteak tomatoes earned their names from two things: their impressive sizes and popular use, which is for garnishing steak.
1. Big Beef
Big Beef is as intense as its name. It has a large size, brilliant red color, and smooth skin. A type of indeterminate tomato, Big Beef can produce fruits even during the early months when the weather is still cold.
You can get perfect round slices for sandwiches and garnishes from these tomatoes.
2. Mortgage Lifter
This large red tomato has a heart-shaped profile when viewed from the side. The name reflects the Post-Depression era in the United States, the time when these tomatoes were first cultivated.
Mortgage Lifter has a subtle sweetness and is more suitable for garnish more than anything.
3. Pink Brandywine
Pink Brandywine has a softer red shade, which makes it almost pinkish in appearance. Pink Brandywine is a giant tomato, with a balanced flavor between sweet and sour. Pink Brandywine is ideal for sandwiches.
4. Cherokee Purple
The beautiful Cherokee Purple has a dusky red color with subtle green coloring near the stem.
The interior is less “smooth” than other Beefsteak Tomatoes, with small locules and dark rims that are visible when sliced. The flavor is quite sweet and intense.
Types of Roma Tomatoes
Roma Tomatoes are small tomatoes cultivated to make a paste. Unlike cherry tomatoes, they have more elongated shapes, with firmer flesh. The texture makes these tomatoes ideal for canning and paste-making.
1. Big Mama
Big Mama is among the largest types of Roma tomatoes. The skin is easy to peel, making it perfect for paste or pickling. It is also great to make a sauce, such as for pasta and stew.
2. San Marzano
San Marzano is not as big Mama, but it is popular for canned products.
This indeterminate tomato type is firm, with a longer shape than most Roma tomatoes. San Marzano is also popular for traditional Neapolitan pizza.
3. Golden Rave
Golden Rave tomatoes are known as “Baby Roma” because of their small sizes. These yellow tomatoes are only slightly elongated.
They have a sweeter flavor than San Marzano and Big Mama, making them perfect for fresh consumption.
Tomatoes come in numerous sizes, colors, and shapes. Choosing the right tomato is important to create perfect dishes or products, whether they are pizza, pasta, sauce, salad, or canned tomatoes.
Learn your types of tomatoes before deciding to buy or plant them.