What is the difference between grape & cherry tomatoes? What recipes are tomatoes good for? What is the sweetest tomato? What are the health benefits of tomatoes? With generations of tomato growing experience, we’re sharing our answers with you so you can understand what makes tomatoes a favorite vegetable for cooking and snacking around the world.
As greenhouse vegetable growers, we know a thing or two about tomatoes – and trust us when we say that there’s a lot to know!
There are over 10,000 varieties of tomatoes grown in every corner of the globe. Each variety has specific properties that give it unique texture, colors, size, shape, nutrients, and most importantly, FLAVOR.
All the combinations you can imagine are possible and delicious in their own way, but certain varieties are prized for their one-of-a-kind mix of these characteristics. Pure Flavor’s® product development team travels the world to taste new types of tomatoes that customers across North America love. Currently, there are 15 different Pure Flavor® Tomatoes for you to try. There’s a tomato just for you!
The most recent addition to the Pure Flavor® lineup is a bite-sized blast of fruity sweetness: Cloud 9® Tomatoes. Parents love these tomatoes for one simple reason: their kids love how sweet they are! The characteristics that make these award-winning tomatoes so unique and snackable are their juicy sweetness, surprisingly fruity flavor, small teardrop shape, and vibrant burgundy color, which makes them look like small shiny jewels in little hands.
Not only are Cloud 9® a unique type of sweet tomato, but they’re also grown and picked to make the most of what the variety has to offer. Our family of growers hand-select each tomato at peak ripeness to ensure consistent quality in every pack and in every season.
That’s right – we grow all our greenhouse tomatoes 365 days a year, even in winter! How do we do it? Our greenhouses, including our greenhouses in Peach County, Georgia, use the most advanced growing technology available to give our family of growers complete control – from the amount of water and nutrients each plant receives, to the climate of the greenhouse, and to the amount of light plants receive.
By measuring and controlling the growth of our greenhouses tomatoes to this level of precision, we’re able to deliver product in all season that meet your high expectations for quality.
Different kinds of tomatoes are grown to be enjoyed in different ways. Some are great healthy kids snacks, like Cloud 9® Tomatoes, while some are preferred in fresh salads and sandwiches, like Tomatoes on-the-Vine. Let’s take a quick look at some of the choices you have when it comes to how to use tomatoes in the kitchen or on-the-go.
When it comes to healthy snacking, there’s a flavor for every person in your family – young and old! In addition to Cloud 9® Bite-Sized Fruity Tomatoes, there is a range of tiny tomatoes to enjoy.
There are two basic kinds of snacking tomatoes: grape tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. You may have heard of these before, but what’s the difference between grape and cherry tomatoes? It’s all in the name! Grape tomatoes have a longer oval shape while cherry tomatoes are round like cherries and can be sweeter depending on the variety. There are many more differences than their shape, though – and so many different varieties to try!
What colors do tomatoes come in? All the colors of the rainbow! Sangria® Medley Tomatoes is a tasty of mix of your favorite colors, tastes and textures, from sweet and juicy to tart and plump! Of course, you can also enjoy each color on its own by choosing red Juno® Bites Red Grape Tomatoes and Azuca Red Cherry Tomatoes, orange Oriana® Orange Grape Tomatoes, or yellow Bumbles® Yellow Grape Tomatoes.
All those different colors are dazzling, but they also hint at the taste and health benefits of each tomato. The color pigments in tomatoes are known as carotenoids and each one provides different health benefits. For example, red tomatoes contain large amounts of the antioxidant lycopene. Orange and yellow tomatoes contain more beta-carotene and lutein. These can change the way we taste them too: yellow tomatoes are less acidic, which is perfect for kids who are sensitive to tangy flavors.
All tomatoes offer important health benefits that can help kids and adults to stay in tip top shape. Christina Iaboni, a registered dietician, says that snacking tomatoes like Juno® Bites contain potassium, a mineral that’s important for hearth health. In addition, Lisa Andrews, who is also a registered dietician, says that they “provide cancer-fighting vitamin C as well as lycopene. Consumption of fruits and vegetables containing lycopene is associated with the reduction of colorectal, prostate and ovarian cancer.”
Tomatoes are a great healthy snack that can improve your personal health while you enjoy their great flavor, but they don’t have to be only for snacking – they are a convenient ingredient to use in all sorts of different recipes. To add a layer of sweetness to savory homemade dishes, like Megan Hutson did with her Mexican Street Salad, keep a pack of Cloud 9® Tomatoes on the counter. For elegant appetizers, RedRoyals® Majestically Sweet Cherry Tomatoes On-the-Vine have a burst of sweet and unmistakable flavor that creates an experience like no other. Denisse Salinas of Le Petit Chef uses them in her Breaded Halibut with Tomato Cucumber Relish recipe and trust us when we say – it’s de-lish!
Large, juicy tomatoes are great for chopping up in salads or slicing on hamburgers and sandwiches. Tomatoes on-the-Vine come in clusters for you to enjoy “fresh off the vine” flavor all week. Try them in a Fresh Tomato and Pita Chip Salad. Beefsteak Tomatoes are big, beefy and have a meaty texture no matter how you slice it! They’re a favorite for simple dishes like Opened Faced Tomato Sandwiches. For h’ors d’oevres that are sure to impress your guests, you can try Luna Sweets Cocktail Tomatoes, the best tomatoes for baking and stuffing.
Just like with smaller tomatoes, larger tomatoes come in so many different colors and varieties. Explore the variety of flavor experiences with Green Beefsteak Tomatoes, Chocolate Rose Brown Tomatoes, and Heirloom Tomatoes. Finally, the authentic, traditional choice for pasta sauce and salsa is Roma Tomatoes, although you can use many different tomatoes (or a combination) for these dishes.
Now that you know all the different types of tomatoes to choose from, how do you choose the best fresh tomatoes at the grocery store?
The key to picking fresh tomatoes is to look for five markers of quality: Color, Texture, Consistency, Packages and Size.
- Color: Always look for bright, vibrant and consistent color when purchasing tomatoes. Vines should always be green.
- Texture: Select tomatoes that are firm – not soft, but not hard either.
- Consistency: Greenhouse grown tomatoes are prized for their consistency and quality in flavor, texture, and color. Look for the little logo that says “Greenhouse Grown.”
- Packages: Always inspect packs to make sure they’re properly sealed and product inside is consistent.
- Size: Snacking tomatoes come in different pack sizes to meet your family’s needs.
To learn more about the many tomato varieties we grow and how we grow them, click here or check out our Twenty Tomato Facts.
To explore the recipes you can create with tomatoes, click here.