Some Unusual Tomatoes

Monica gave me a yellow tomato at the last meeting to taste test. The tag with it said it was “Tomato Grapefruit” and that it was a “mid-season, large size, low-acid, yellow with red-striped fruit.” This is a very pretty tomato with a deep yellow color and a nice shape. The red stripes are a bit misleading, as the outside of the fruit is solid yellow. The inside, however, does have a diffuse reddish center with might be seen as lines radiating from it if you have a really good imagination.

The taste though is unique. Like most low acid tomatoes ‘Grapefruit’ doesn’t have the bite to it that normal tomatoes do. It is the acid that gives tomatoes their characteristic flavor, so that low acid tomatoes tend to be bland. Not this one! It is sweetish with a rather fruity taste. Tomatoes are, of course, a fruit and this one places itself firmly in that category. While I can’t say that it tastes specifically like grapefruit, it does have a distinctive flavor.

I planted another yellow tomato this year, ‘Kellogg’s Breakfast’ tomato. It is a beefsteak type tomato and the fruit was slightly

Grapefruit Tomato

Grapefruit Tomato

smaller than ‘Grapefruit’, although that may be because of poor growing conditions. It was a terrible year for tomatoes. It, too, is an indeterminate plant bearing a yellow fruit. There is no hint of red in this one; the inside is an orange color. The flavor is a slight bit more acidic but bland in comparison to ‘Grapefruit’.  Having this other low acid, yellow tomato to compare with ‘Grapefruit’ just emphasized how distinctive ‘Grapefruit’ really is.

The ‘Kellogg’s Breakfast’ can be had just about anywhere but the ‘Grapefruit’ is somewhat more difficult to find. There is only one dealer that carries it, Gary Ibsen’s Tomato Fest. .  Both of these yellow tomatoes are heirlooms and open pollinated, so the seed can be saved. I only discovered this after I had eaten most of ‘Grapefruit’ but I immediately secured what remained to collect the seed. The best way to extract tomato seed is to put the tomato in a jar and cover it with water. It eventually ferments and all the seeds are found in the sludge at the bottom of the jar. They can be strained out, washed and dried for storage.

A number of us also harvested the ‘Indigo Rose’ tomatoes from saved seed this year. These are a bit larger than a cherry tomato but they take much longer than a cherry tomato to ripen. (Pat had the first really ripe ones.) Due to high anthocyanin content they are nearly black. Various sources say that they are ripe when the shine is gone from the tomato. We found that they are not ripe until the bottoms turn red. The inside of the tomato will also be red at this point and they will have developed what flavor they are going to achieve. They seem to be a rather low acid tomato without a lot of “tomatoey” flavor. They are pretty in a salad though and are exceedingly good for you.