There are hundreds of different tomato varieties and types. If you’re interested in food or cooking you’ll want to find out about them – what the differences are and when to use them.
With so many different tomatoes, it can be challenging to know the differences. So in this article, we’ll cover everything you should want to know.
Types of Tomato:
In the world of tomatoes, there are two main types: heirlooms and hybrids. There are then many varieties that make up each. What you find in the store year-round are the highly commercialized hybrids.
Hybrid tomatoes are grown purposely by farmers to achieve a uniform standard of tomato that fits desired characteristics. Most of the time when you think of a tomato the image that comes to mind is round, red, medium-sized fruits. That’s because most tomatoes you find in the grocery store are hybrid varieties.
Heirloom tomatoes are grown naturally and are what all hybrid tomatoes were initially cultivated from being. Heirlooms are often more succulent and sweet than hybrid varieties, as, unlike hybrids, they are allowed to grow until the sugars and acids fully mature. Hybrid tomatoes are plucked from the vine when they are young and not matured to be packaged and shipped all over the globe.
These are the main differences between the two types of tomato. But what about all the different varieties?
Tomato Variety Differences and Characteristics Explained:
Plum tomatoes are oval-shaped tomatoes that have a lower water content than other varieties of tomato. This characteristic gives the flesh a chewy texture making them ideal for sauces and soups. You will often find recipes calling for Roma or San Marzano types of plum tomato.
Beefsteak tomatoes are large tomatoes with fleshier and often seedless pulps. With over 350 types of beefsteak, many have interesting names that spark the imagination in equal measure to how they spark the taste buds, such as one called The Brandywine. You can use Beefsteaks in salads, sandwiches, and similar.
Cherry tomatoes are small and round, with a sweet juicy taste that pops in your mouth when you bite into them—often enjoyed in salads, as appetizers, and as healthy snacks. They are hybrid tomatoes cultivated for their small size and flavor.
Grape tomatoes are oblong-shaped tomatoes larger than cherry tomatoes and have thicker skins, making them hardier for transport. Many tomatoes you find in the store are of this variety, and you can use them for everything from stewing to dicing for salads.
Cocktail tomatoes are larger than cherry and grape tomatoes, and they are also known as ‘campari’ tomatoes. There is no difference between campari tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes. Cocktail tomatoes are smaller than both plum tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes. You will find them in the store year-round as they make one of the hardiest varieties of hybrid tomato.
What is the difference between a plum tomato and a grape tomato?
Plum tomatoes, also known as Roma or San Marzano tomatoes, are oval-shaped tomatoes that are much larger than grape tomatoes.
Are heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes the same?
Beefsteak tomatoes come in both heirloom and hybrid varieties, meaning that heirlooms and beefsteaks are not the same.
Are cocktail tomatoes the same as campari tomatoes?
Yes, cocktail tomatoes do include campari tomatoes because of the size and shape of a campari tomato.
What is the difference between cherry and grape tomatoes?
Cherry tomatoes have a higher water content and less thick skins than grape tomatoes. They are also sweeter and rounder than a grape tomato.