Tiny tom tasting

small toms mxed

The sun has heated the greenhouse and I was able to pick several kilos of the small toms today so I thought I would do a taste comparison before I forgot. So here are the results from the 11 toms that are cherry-sized or similar. I will do the same with the big ones soon. Before I start tasting I have to say that they are an attractive looking bunch and all mixed together they look like sweets, helped enormously, I have to admit, by the addition of the lime green ‘Green Grape’. Although I love tomatoes I must admit that cherry toms are not always my favourites because I hate the way they squirt seeds across your tongue when you bite through tough skin. I prefer big, meatier toms and mini-plums. Anyway – here goes. I am going to eat two or three of each to get a fair representation of each and eat them in order!

‘Blue Berries’

small tom blue berries

This is one of the new ‘blue’ or indigo tomatoes that are supposed to be ‘uber’ healthy because of that inky pigment that adds extra antioxidants to the already beneficial lycopene. Unfortunately this colour only develops when the fruit are exposed to direct sunlight. My plants are rather crowded so most of the fruits have not developed the colour. In general it is warmth and not direct sun that causes ripening so the other varieties have all ripened as normal. The plants are rather variable and the crop is average, as is ripening time. Skins split on washing. Flavour is average and acid if rather watery. Skin is not too tough.

Taste: poor

Texture: watery

Will I grow it again? No

‘Blush’

small toms blush

This is an attractive fruit, larger than most cherry toms, that start pale cream and turn peachy yellow with irregular rose streaks when ripe. The plants are moderately productive, set well and ripened fairly early. The rather meaty fruits seem to have low acidity and a mild taste but the skins are very tough and have a ‘green’ taste that rather overwhelms the tomato taste. You end up with a mouth full of chewy skin.

Taste: average

Texture: firm

Will I grow it again? Possibly – but looks better than it tastes

‘Strillo’ F1

small toms strillo

As might be expected from an F1 hybrid, this is a vigorous, well-behaved plant with long trusses of evenly sized fruits. They ripen to deep red. They can split on the plant when overripe and they split when washed. The plants have been grown under a gap in the glass and where they have been ‘watered’ by rain the foliage has been affected by blight. The fruits have a refreshing, fairly sweet taste with a lot of firm flesh and not too many seeds. The skin is slightly tough but not too bad.

Taste: good

Texture: firm and meaty

Will I grow it again? possibly

‘Candy Tots’

small toms candy tots

This is the second year I have grown this and it seems to be a blend of several yellow toms because the plants produce slightly different fruits, some of which are larger and paler than the others. It is a very strong grower, ripens fairly early and keeps on cropping. The fruits are meaty and slightly mealy and the flavour varies from good to rather bland but acid. Despite the name I would not say they were exceptionally sweet. The skins rarely split on the plants or when washed unless very ripe. They are rather tough to eat.

Taste: average

Texture: firm

Will I grow it again? possibly

‘Green Grape’

small toms green grape

When ripe, these attractive toms change to a slightly olive green shade at the shoulders. But they still retain a beautiful lime green colour that contrasts with the other fruits. The plants are a bit rampant and unruly and they are not the earliest to ripen. So far the crop has been light. The texture is pleasant and they are not seedy. The taste is quite sweet and not at all acid and the skins are thin. They are almost melt-in-the-mouth. Your eyes tell you that these will be acidic and horrible but they are far from it.

Taste: pleasant

Texture: melting

Will I grow it again? Yes

‘Santonio’ F1

small toms santorino

An ‘improved’ ‘Santa’, this is the only mini-plum I am growing this year, despite the fact that I like them (I have grown six plants of this but only three of some of of the others). The plants are tall, productive and neat with long trusses of fruit. The flowers set well and the plants are loaded with fruits with lots to pick each day. They have a good taste with a mix of rich tomato flavour, sweetness and acidity. The fruits do not split on the plants or, usually, when washed but they are a little thick and tough (I just choked on one!)

Taste: good

Texture: firm

Will I grow it again? probably

‘Rainbow Cherry – white’

small toms rainbow white

I have grown another white tomato but for some reason the six plants I grew from this mixture were either black or white-fruited. These white fruits vary in size from large cherry toms to almost standard-sized toms. They ripen to creamy white with an almost yellow flush when fully ripe. The plants are productive, though the trusses are not as long as you would expect from a cherry, and they ripened fairly early. The fruits are not as intensely flavoured as some others, nor sweet, but they are pleasant and mild and the skins are thin and do not spoil the eating experience. The skins have not cracked on the plants or when washed.

Taste: pleasant but bordering insipid

Texture: good

Will I grow it again? probably

‘Rainbow Cherry – black’

small toms black chery

This was in the ‘Rainbow Cherry’ blend (see above). Most of the fruits are rather larger than you would expect, of a beautiful colour with brownish shoulders. They have cropped well, the skins do not split on the plants or when washed. The fruits have a complex flavour almost with ‘berry fruits’ at first (without sounding like a wine taster). They are definitely the most interesting of the lot so far, with hints of almonds sometimes. They are juicy and not too seedy but, I now have a mouth full of skin! I was going to give it full marks until then! I think this is the same as the seeds sown as ‘Black Cherry’.

Taste: very good

Texture: good

Will I grow it again? probably

 ‘Chocolate Pear’

small toms choclate pear

These are rather stocky plants with short internodes and they have neat trusses with lots of fruit. They started to ripen before most others so all was good. They are not as ‘pear-shaped’ as I expected and the colour is not really brown but a deep red with green shoulders. The fruits have very few seeds and the flesh is meaty and slightly mealy, especially when over ripe. There is a richness to the flavour that reminds me of tinned tomatoes – I am not sure if that is good or bad. The skins do not split on the plant unless they are very ripe, nor when washed. The skins, when eating, seem rather thick but that is because the flesh is firmly welded to it and it is not as bad as it first seems.

Taste: interesting

Texture: firm

Will I grow it again? probably

‘Purple Bumblebee’

small toms purple bumblebee

I was excited to grow this because of its striped fruits. The plants are really thick and sturdy, with large, ‘manly’ leaves. If most tomatoes are tennis players this one would be a rugby player. The trusses are short and stocky too and the fruit can be hard to snap off the stems. The colour is pinkish with gorgeous green stripes and they have a metallic look to them. The fruits rarely split but they do usually have a crack or two running from the top of the fruits. They are large for a cherry and some are rather oval when viewed from the top. The flavour is average and the texture soft and a bit seedy. And those metallic-looking skins are actually made of leather! As I chew my way through the skins there is a definite ‘green’ taste to them as though I am eating dock leaves.

Taste: average

Texture: watery

Will I grow it again? probably not

‘Sungold’ F1

small toms sungold

Phew -the last one. ‘Sungold’ is a rather spindly grower and the fruits split on the plants if they are slightly over ripe. If you pick them without the calyx (the green ‘hat’) the ripe fruits will split as you pick them and then more will split when you wash them (so only wash them just before you eat them). They vary in size a bit but when ripe they are bright orange. Some people dislike this variety because it is a Japanese F1 hybrid and not an old heirloom. But it is productive and easy to grow. The fruits are sweet and delicious. The skins are a bit tough but not too bad. I am glad I saved this one till last. It is the best of the lot.

Taste: sweet and delicious

Texture: a bit seedy

Will I grow it again? absolutely

Conclusion

I was a bit harsh on these tomatoes as I sat here eating them one after the other with no side dishes! All of these would be even better with some mayo or bread. Last year I grew ‘Sweet Aperitif’ which was a very small red cherry and I don’t think that any of this year’s crop are quite as sweet. There are a few of this year’s crop that I will probably grow next year because of a combination of good qualities but I am afraid that when it comes down to which do I like eating most I have to say what I have said for many years and that is – ‘Give me ‘Sungold’ every time. ‘

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2 Comments on “Tiny tom tasting”

  1. Julie
    September 13, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    Interesting and helpful review, I grow Sungold and like you its a favourite. I tried the F1 Tumbling Tom Yellow as well this year, a good tart flavour and lots of very small sweetie fruits. I like the look of green grape and will try that next year.

    • thebikinggardener
      September 13, 2014 at 8:47 am #

      Thank you. I really wanted to find a new favourite but it seems Sungold is unbeatable! green grape is no replacement but curiously it looks so good on the plate with the others and the relatively thin skins are a real bonus. Thanks for visiting and commenting 🙂

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