Comparing Tomatoes


  • Background: broad category that includes heirloom, Brandywine, and Cherokee Purple varieties – the most famous type is the New Jersey beefsteak which is commonly used in delis because it holds its shape when pre-sliced


  • Color: pink-red
  • Flavor: sweet
  • Grows: slow
  • Look: splits, spots, and deep grooves in the skin are normal
  • Purchase: common at farmers markets
  • Size: large beefsteak
  • Texture: meaty


  • Color: bright red
  • Shape: globe
  • Size: larger than cherry tomatoes but smaller than on-the-vine tomatoes
  • Taste: sweet
  • Pairs with: Italian cheeses and meats


  • Color: variety including red, yellow, orange, and black
  • Shape: round
  • Size: small
  • Uses: crudite platters, salads, pastas


  • Shape: oblong
  • Size: smaller than cherry tomatoes
  • Texture: thick skins & low water content
  • Uses: eat raw as a snack or roasted in a recipe


  • Background: cultivated with open-pollination seeds (no human intervention) that were preserved and passed on throughout the past couple of decades
  • Look: unique
  • Purchase: specialty supermarkets and local farmers markets
  • Taste: flavorful


  • Background: not genetically modified but produced by crossing 2 different types of tomatoes, bred to be resistant to disease, uniform in appearance, and available in the off-season


  • Background: trade-name given to this greenhouse-grown hybrid known in Spain as Olmeca
  • Color: brownish-red
  • Size: medium
  • Taste: sweet yet tart
  • Uses: a favorite for slicing


  • Background: commonly referred to as plum or plum Italian
  • Texture: firm
  • Uses: canning or making sauce due to the lower water content

San Marzano: 

  • Background: Named for the volcanic region south of Milan where they are grown
  • Purchase: imported canned at supermarkets
  • Shape: long
  • Texture: meaty
  • Uses: tomato sauce as they are easy to peel


  • Color: golden yellow/cherry-tomato hybrid
  • Purchase: at farmers markets in the late summer
  • Plant: in a garden or pot to enjoy high yields all summer
  • Shape: round
  • Taste: juicy & candy-like
  • Uses: eat them roasted or tossed into pasta sauces, salads, and omelets

Yellow Pear:

  • Background: one of the oldest varieties grown in the US
  • Color: yellow-orange
  • Flavor: mild
  • Shape: pear
  • Size: small

To learn more about tomatoes in general, check out my post in Nutritional Science – Tomato


Lieberman, Layne. “From the vine”. Food and Nutrition. July/August 2017. 30-31.


2 thoughts on “Comparing Tomatoes

  1. Pingback: Tomato | Michelle Smith, RD

  2. …I am impressed by Michelle Smith, RD, comprehensive report on Tomatoes ! Your site is Number One for having the most interesting articles!


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