In the supermarkets you always find the same (red) tomatoes. There is hardly any sign of diversity here. But actually tomatoes are available in an almost infinite abundance of colors, shapes and flavors and are therefore the opposite of monotonous. Here we show you what tomatoes have to offer. After that you will definitely be full of energy and immediately look for a recipe with a wide variety of tomato varieties.
How many tomato varieties are there?
When you think of tomatoes, the small or slightly larger round ball probably always comes to mind. But you hardly notice that tomatoes are actually very diverse when you go shopping in the supermarket. In order to finally enlighten the wonderful world of tomato varieties, we want to briefly explain where the small but fine fruit comes from and what its unique properties are.
A little history of the tomato
Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are fruit vegetables and originally come from Central and South America. The tomato only came to Europe with the discovery of America in the 15th and 16th centuries. At that time they were still considered poisonous and therefore only used as an ornamental plant until it was found out that the ripe tomatoes are very suitable for consumption. In the meantime, they have become an integral part of the traditional cuisines of many cultures and are considered a very important foodstuff all over the world.
Greetings in diversity!
Through centuries of breeding, there are now over 1000 different tomato varieties. There is even the assumption that the number is over several thousand due to private breeding. Since different tomato varieties can be crossed with each other in your own greenhouse (a bit of experience is of course necessary for this) in order to emphasize certain properties, this assumption is very realistic. The tomato is subdivided, for example, according to its size, purpose and shape. This creates different groups again.
Botanical properties of tomatoes
From a botanical point of view, all tomato varieties belong to the nightshade family (Solanaceae) and are therefore very closely related to potatoes or aubergines. The nice thing about perennial plants is that you can easily sow them at home. No matter whether on the windowsill or in the greenhouse, you are sure to end up with super delicious tasting tomatoes for many creative dishes. Impressively, the tomato plants can grow over two meters tall. The enchantingly tasting fruits later grow from the yellow flowers. Since not all the fruits on the plant ripen at the same time, with the right care you will have something of your tomato varieties for a long time. The shape as well as the color is very diverse. The tomatoes can be round, oval, oblong or even flat. The color spectrum ranges from red to orange to green, violet or yellow. Different patterns are also possible.
Which type of tomato suits you?
Here we present six different tomato varieties. These differ mainly in their size, taste or use. So there is something for everyone.
1. Recommendation: oxheart tomatoes
The late-ripening ox heart tomato (French tomate coeur de boeuf) is a beefsteak tomato and can weigh up to half a kilo. Their color spectrum goes from red to orange to yellow and white. When sowing, proceed exactly as described in our article "Sowing tomatoes".Once the oxheart tomatoes are four to five centimeters tall, transplant them into pots or outdoors (after the last frost). Don't let the drooping leaves unsettle you. These are typical of this variety and less of a sign of water shortage.
2. Recommendation: cocktail tomatoes
Weighing between 20 and 60 grams, cocktail tomatoes are very small. That's why you can grow her at home in a container without any problems. Of course, the aromatic taste comes out best after the harvest and is very good as an ingredient in salads or for pickling. The cocktail tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four weeks. They keep for about a week without refrigeration. In addition, the small aromatic balls have a harvest time that can go into October. That way, you get some of your plant well into the fall.
3. Recommendation: lettuce tomatoes
They look like the classic tomatoes from a picture book. The fruits, which weigh between 60 and 100 grams, are very juicy because of their high liquid content. Among the salad tomatoes there are not only the typical red representatives such as "Moneymaker" or "Matina", but also old yellow tomato varieties such as the "Golden Queen". Due to their fresh and juicy taste, they are suitable for immediate consumption. Because of their thin skin, you can of course also use them for the preparation of salads, as the name suggests.
4. Recommendation: Roma tomatoes
This tomato variety is characterized by its elongated shape. For this reason, they are also sold in stores as plum tomatoes. They have the property of having few seeds but a lot of pulp. You can make use of this: Use them for preserving, cooking or even for making sauces. If you finally want to make ketchup yourself, then you can use the Roma tomatoes perfectly for it. Of course you can also eat them as a small snack between meals.
5. Recommendation: vine tomatoes
The advantage of vine tomatoes: you can wait to harvest until all the tomatoes hanging on a vine are ripe. They don't fall off and taste good even if you let them hang longer and pick them all at once. So you have to harvest the vine tomatoes less often than with other tomato varieties. Nevertheless, they remain very intense in their taste. They are very suitable as a snack or as tomato halves in a salad. Just like the Roma tomatoes, you can also use them to cook sauces and soups or to refine meat or rice dishes.
6. Recommendation: green tomatoes
Not only the pulp, but also the skin itself retains its green color even when ripe. You can get them in a variety of sizes and shapes at the supermarket, or you can even grow them in your own garden. Sometimes they can also be striped yellowish-green. The taste is very fruity, juicy and sweet. The aromatic green tomatoes are suitable, among other things, for pickling or for frying for a colorful vegetable pan.
Sowing tomatoes is basically not very difficult. Especially if you finally want to eat nice and tasty tomatoes again, then it's really worth it. In addition, the seeds are much cheaper than young plants in the shops. With a lot of love, attention and the proper tomato plant care you should be rewarded with unique tasting tomatoes in the end.The advantage of growing it yourself: Freshly harvested fruits have a higher content of healthy ingredients!
Old tomato varieties
Particularly old tomato varieties are very popular because of their colour, taste or unique shape. Unfortunately, they are very rare and threatened with extinction. Ever since the tomato came to Europe from Central America in the 15th century, it has changed from generation to generation. Due to the anthropogenic change, some varieties fell out over time in terms of harvest and taste. A well-known old tomato variety is the small cocktail tomato (“Yellow Pearshaoed”). But the yellow round tomato "Golden Queen" is also one of them. Although it is very robust, it is not of interest for the trade because of its partially deformed appearance. But maybe just the right thing for you.
Bring the tomato world home
As you can see, the world of tomato varieties feels endless. You don't always have to buy the same tomatoes from the supermarket. It is your own decision which strain you use or want to grow yourself at home. With a little time and the right care, you can start your own colorful tomato family!.