How many types of tomato are there? Until now, there is no clear answer.
There are at least ten thousands of types of tomatoes that exist in the world. This only refers to the ones already identified. And yet previously unidentified varieties can easily pop up from time to time. The exact number can grow indefinitely more.
The situation makes it impossible to find the most accurate and most practical classification for tomatoes.
Tomatoes can be identified, grouped, and categorized by many different factors. It could be based on their variety, nature, growth, color, and many other aspects of their existence.
- 1 Types of Tomatoes Based on their Origins
- 2 Types of Tomatoes Based on their Characteristics
- 3 Types of Tomatoes Based on their Color
- 4 Summary
Types of Tomatoes Based on their Origins
Where did tomatoes originate? This is something that will be some discussed in this section. Tomatoes can be separated into two this way. The two types have undergone different experiences over the years and are thus classified based on them.
1. Heirloom Tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes are tomatoes that did not go any cross-breeding and genetic mutation. These types of tomatoes are in their most natural form. They are less uniform in nature and are thus less marketable.
These tomatoes’ origins are from decades ago when agriculture was not yet as established as it is today. Back then, cross-breeding activities were not part of the established technology.
Anyway, the quality of heirloom plants can vary a lot. Therefore, large-scale agriculture typically does not deal with these types of tomatoes.
If you are interested in this type of tomato, you can learn more from an article featuring the best heirloom tomato seeds that are available in the market.
2. Hybrid Tomatoes
Hybrid or commercial tomatoes are the opposite of heirloom tomatoes. They are products of decades of cross-breeding activities and mutations in an effort to make them as easy to mass produce as possible. These are the kinds of tomatoes that you will see in supermarkets.
With the randomness of heirloom tomatoes, it is simply unrealistic for most farmers and agricultural industries to invest on them. Hence, hybrid tomatoes are currently more abundant.
Types of Tomatoes Based on their Characteristics
Different tomato varieties can actually vary drastically in terms of their taste, size, color, growth speed, and more.
In this section, tomatoes are divided into different types based on their general appearance and taste. However, as mentioned before, it’s simply impossible to encompass all tomatoes. Hence, we showcase some of the most common ones.
1. Beefsteak Tomatoes
Beefsteak tomatoes are characterized by their rather large bodies in contrast to other tomato varieties. Due to their size, beefsteak tomatoes can be very juicy. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to call these tomatoes ‘meaty’. The name is largely referring to this fact.
Oftentimes, tomatoes of this variety are eaten raw without any additional spices and cooking procedures. There are many reasons for this.
First, the size and the texture just make beefsteak tomatoes the perfect candidate for a bite. Second, other tomato varieties may be more appropriate to use in salads and other menus. Finally, beefsteak tomatoes are large enough to be fulfilling on their own.
2. Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are the polar opposites of beefsteak tomatoes. If beefsteak tomatoes are known to be quite large, cherry tomatoes are famous for being small and bite-sized. In fact, cherry tomatoes are often compared to grapes in size.
Tomatoes are oftentimes characterized by their sour and tangy taste. Cherry tomatoes slightly divert from this expectation. They are largely known to be sweeter than most large-variety tomatoes.
Additionally, golden and yellow cherry tomatoes are known to be even sweeter and less acidic than the red cherry ones.
Tomatoes of this variety are certainly quite popular as well. This is due to how easy they are to grow and manage. This is especially true for heirloom cherry tomatoes.
The process becomes even easier with proper fertilizer use. If you want to know more about tomato fertilizers, you can check the article about the best fertilizer for tomatoes.
3. Plum Tomatoes
Plum tomatoes, also known as paste tomatoes, are tomatoes that are widely known for being used in processing. They are mostly red in color and their taste is similar to a typical tomato that one would expect.
You may have seen products in the supermarket that are derived from tomatoes. These products’ main ingredients are most likely plum tomatoes. These include products such as canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato ketchup.
Why are plum tomatoes popular in processing? The reason is largely economical. Plum tomatoes simply yield more ‘content’ than other medium-sized varieties. Their skin is thin and firm. Therefore, they can hold the inner contents of the tomato quite efficiently.
Moreover, their medium-sized bodies mean that their slices are perfect for packaging. Overly large cans are not ideal after all. Additionally, a plum tomato’s size is also just right for use in salads.
Types of Tomatoes Based on their Color
Different tomato varieties can come in many different colors. Surprisingly enough, their taste varies accordingly as well. You can somewhat know beforehand the general taste of a tomato just by its color.
Naturally, judging/classifying tomatoes by color is nowhere near the most accurate way of doing it. However, it is also the most basic. Hence, it’s the easiest to understand.
People who have very little technical knowledge about tomatoes may find this way of classifying tomatoes the most useful.
1. Red Tomato Varieties
There is not really much to expect from red tomatoes other than what you probably already know. Red tomatoes have the balance between sour and acidic. They have some semblance of sweetness as well.
Naturally, even if different varieties of red tomatoes can taste the same, they can also vary a lot in other aspects. For instance, even though red beefsteak tomatoes can be as sour as red plum tomatoes, the former is definitely larger than the other.
2. Orange-Yellow Tomato Varieties
This is where things get interesting. Orange tomatoes have a much higher sweet to sour ratio than red tomatoes. Not only are they nice and sweet, but they also have lower acidity values.
Yellow tomato varieties are best used for salads when you want some sweetness to compliment some of the other vegetable ingredients. Alternatively, you can simply eat them as is. Some sweet treat is definitely nice after all.
3. Black Tomato Varieties
Gardeners like to describe black tomatoes’ flavor as ‘earthly’, as a compliment to their color characteristics.
Black tomatoes may taste somewhat similar to red tomatoes but a lot milder. If you put it negatively, you can say they are somewhat bland. Their low acidity is a large contributor to this fact.
4. Other Tomato Varieties
There also exist a few white and green tomato varieties. The white tomato varieties are the sweetest ones among all others.
Meanwhile, ripe green tomatoes are just copies of red tomatoes with a different color. The only notable difference between them is that green tomatoes are slightly less acidic.
You have learned about the different types of tomatoes and the different ways of classifying them. Fortunately, tomato research is an extensive topic and there is still a lot more to learn about it. Perhaps you can continue your pursuit of knowledge regarding tomatoes and be able to plant your own tomato garden in time.