A Gorgeous Guide to Tomato Varieties
From tiny red orbs smaller than cherry tomatoes to enormous fruits the size of a fist or bigger, tomatoes come in many sizes, shapes, and colors—yes, colors. If you assume a tomato is a round red vegetable about six ounces in weight, it's time to widen your horizons. First, it's important to note that though we use them as a vegetable, tomatoes are actually classified as a fruit botanically. With that fact in mind, consider the tomato's near limitless potential, then get inspired by the glorious varieties shown here. If you can, try to shop for some new-to-you tomatoes during your next trip to the farmers' market, farm stand, or grocery store. Better yet, try to grow some yourself!
Why diversify your tomato intake? Different varieties of tomatoes have different flavors, different amounts of water content, and different looks. Mixing a variety of tomatoes in a simple sliced tomato salad takes it to the next level in both look and taste. Here, we share a few favorites (outlined from top left), which were grown by cookbook author and avid vegetable gardener, Sarah Copeland who also shared some of her go-to tomato recipes.
This is a hybrid that produces lots of tomatoes on long fruit-bearing stems, each holding perhaps 100 or more very sweet cherry tomatoes. The fruits weigh approximately one ounce and are one inch across.
No, it's not an unripe green tomato. It's actually a small tomato—fruits are about three ounces—that is a beautiful chartreuse color with deep green stripes when ripe. The flesh is also green and rich and sweet tasting with a tart touch that keeps it balanced.
Not quite as its name suggests, these long, roma-shaped tomatoes have orange stripes more than speckles running down the length of the fruit. The tomatoes are very thick and meaty with an excellent tomato flavor and great for sauce.
A striking brown hybrid, this tomato gets its name from the city that is the center of tomato production in Japan—but don't confuse it for a Japanese cultivar. The Kumamoto was developed in Spain. Some people find the color less appealing than a red tomato but the succulent, sweet, and slightly tart flavor wins them over. Plus Kumamotos are more sturdy than some tomatoes and don't bruise or break as easily.
This heirloom tomato is shaped like a plum tomato but is smaller in size and has golden-yellow-orange flesh and skin. Their taste is mild and sweet.
One of the most popular cherry tomatoes, this Japanese hybrid ripens early to a golden orange and has an extra-sweet flavor. Another bonus: Sungold tomatoes stay firmer longer than other cherry varieties.
This one is a small pear-shaped tomato with a mild flavor that's great for salads or snacking. Each bright lemon-yellow fruit weighs three quarters to one ounce.
Very juicy and sweet tasting and prized by tomato growers, this medium-sized heirloom is a beefsteak-type tomato that originally came from the Crimean Peninsula of the Ukraine. It's unusual exterior is reddish-purple to black with green/brown shoulders.
Pretty red fruits with a yellow starburst on the blossom end, these cherry tomatoes are typically about 1 1/2 inches in size. They're a hybrid with a very sweet flavor that makes them popular with kids.
This is one of the most popular hybrid tomatoes with home growers because this medium-sized fruit ripens early and keeps on producing throughout the summer. About the size (and shape) of a tennis ball, the early girl looks how we expect a tomato to look and is meaty.
Another tomato hybrid that's popular with home gardeners is the Cherry Roma. That's because it keeps on producing throughout the growing season. It's also loved for the sweet-spicy flavor of it's one-inch long plum-shaped fruits that are bright red.