Different types of Tomatoes

Key difference: Tomatoes comes in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. And, they are easily classified based on their different varieties and uses. 

With over 75 different varieties to choose from, tomato is one heck of a fruit. Be it a hybrid, heirloom or a grape type one, a juicy bite of ripe and red tomato, with sweet and tart flavors blending magically on the tongue, is one of life’s simple pleasures. And, because of their distinct taste, tomatoes can surely keep a place of their own in salads, sandwiches, and other meals. Hence, they are popularly used in savory dishes all around the world in different cuisines.

Technically a fruit, tomato is widely categorized as a vegetable. Tomatoes are true fruits that are developed from the base of the flower and contain the seeds of the plant. Tomatoes come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors, and while talking about the different types of tomatoes, they are categorized based on their shape and size, such as:

  • Globe tomatoes or Round tomatoes
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Pear tomatoes or San Marzano tomatoes
  • Campiri tomatoes

Thus, based on the above classifications, tomatoes can be easily picked for different purposes. This article defines them further.

Globe tomatoes or Round tomatoes

These are the standard variant of tomatoes and are often referred to as Slicing tomatoes. They are easily identifiable because they are large, round, and red. Also, they are heavy in weight and generally weigh up to two pounds. These are pumpkin shape, large, rigged and deep red or orange in color, with a good firm texture and sweet taste. They are low in acidity, hence are excellent choice for baking, stuffing, using them as whole in sandwiches and other dishes. Example,

  • Oxheart tomatoes – shaped like large strawberries
  • Beefsteak tomatoes - kidney-bean shape, thinner skin and large in size

Heirloom tomatoes

These varieties of tomatoes have been passed down through the generations from hundreds of farmers and gardeners around the world.  They have been growing in popularity in recent years.  Their variety of shapes, sizes, tastes, and unique colors make them particularly attractive to gourmet cooks. The short-shelf life of these tomatoes, which are harvested to nearly fully ripe, is their biggest downfall. The different color types are:

  • Green tomatoes – bright green flesh, with slight acidity and tangy flavor
  • Yellow tomatoes – sweet, slightly lemony, mild flavor with low acidity
  • Orange tomatoes – mildly, sweet, delicately flavored with a low acidity
  • Red choice tomatoes – aromatic and sweet with a full, fruity, plumy flavor

Roma tomatoes

These are sometimes called as ‘plum tomatoes’. They are less juicy than the other types of tomatoes. Though, these are the most popularly used for making sauces and pastes, because of their thick flesh and lower proportion of seeds. These are egg-shaped with thick skin and flesh, and are considered best because of their high concentration and acidity. They are also good for baking, canning, and broiling. These are further classified as:

  • Cocktail plum tomatoes – sweet and tangy

Pear tomatoes or San Marzano tomatoes

San Marzano tomatoes are a type of plum tomato but they are longer and thinner, and have a point at one end. These are less juicy and sweet, but are quite meatier in their concentration. They get their name from their shape, which resembles a pear. They also widely used for making rich gourmet paste.

Cherry tomatoes

These are Cluster variant of the tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes tend to be just about the same size as a cherry, but they are much sweeter and juicier than the other larger varieties of tomatoes. Cluster tomatoes come in different shapes, sizes and colors. These are vine ripened as they are avaible on wine, and are picked in different stages of ripening depending on their varieties. They are mainly eaten as whole in salads, pastas, etc, but can be added to other dishes. They can be categorized as:

  • Baby plum tomatoes – sweet, oval shaped variety perfect for eating as they are
  • Cherry wine tomatoes – not so firm, tangy, sweet flavored juice, with deep red color
  • Grape tomatoes – small, oblong, and sweet-tangy in taste
  • Campiri tomatoes – sweet and juicy texture, are similar to cherry tomatoes, but slightly larger in size.

Thus, based on the above explanation, the different types of tomatoes can be easily distinguished. One should remember that tomatoes are extremely important in a meal, because of their large health benefits. These are rich in Vitamin A, and contain the 40% daily required Vitamin C. Also, tomatoes are excellent food for aiding vision improvement and helpful in controlling your body’s blood sugar level. They also prevent heart attacks and strokes by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. So, everyone, say yes to tomatoes!

Image Courtesy: heirloomtomatoplants.com, growthis.com, swallowtailgardenseeds.com, tomatogardeners.com, waterfordgoodfood.com, beyondsweetandsavory.com

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