All about Grape Tomatoes

7 Nov

If you’re looking for an exciting, tasting hybrid tomato plant to grow in your garden, now is the time to try out grape tomatoes.

Grape Tomatoes

A typical grape tomato plant

Originally developed during the 1990s, these dinky tomatoes have become hugely popular small-sized tomatoes. They have a slightly thicker skin than cherry tomatoes – more like the skin of yummy beefsteak-type tomatoes – and a much lower water content. Their flavour has been likened to popular Italian Roma tomatoes, only they are considerably sweeter… and as the converts will tell you, much better.

Origin of the Grape Tomato

The very first tomatoes of this type are thought to have been grown in Southeast Asia. They had quite thick skin, very low water content, and they were incredibly sweet (which basically fits the contemporary descriptions of this type of tomato).

Two American tomato growers – one in Mexico and one in Florida – imported the tomato seeds from the East in the 1990s. Once on the market, it got its name because of its size and shape, being a lot smaller than some cherry tomatoes, and much more grapey in look (if not in colour).

Pros and Cons of Grape Tomatoes

These tomatoes grow in clusters on the vine, and must be picked as they are ripening, and changing colour. The green tomatoes won’t ripen off the vine, and if the fruit is too ripe, it’s shelf life may have passed by the time it gets to its destination. This makes harvesting a very labour-intensive exercise, and is the main reason that these tomatoes wre initially only marketed to special produce and up-market gourmet grocery stores willing to pay more (and charge more) than regular supermarkets and grocery outlets.

But the grape tomato has at least one winning aspect – in many areas you can grow it all year round. This means that you can harvest your own grape-type tomatoes at any time of the year, even when other varieties are out of season.

Some Different Types of G-Tomatoes

Elfin grape tomatoes

Elfin grape tomatoes

While these particular tomato seedlings are not very easy to find yet, you can find different types of seed including:

  • Elfin, an open-pollinated type that is shorter than most other types.
  • Rosalita, a pink grape tomato that epitomizes the size and shape of the true red grape tomato. These are indeterminate tomatoes that grow on tall, vigorous plants.
  • Sprite, which is a much smaller plant that produces small, red, oval-shaped grape tomatoes. These are determinate plants that should bear large numbers of berries.
Sprite grape tomatoes

Sprite grape tomatoes

Even if you aren’t sure whether this type of tomato is for you, if you enjoy growing your own veggies, particularly tomatoes, how on earth can you resist trying them out?

Give growing yummy grape tomatoes a go, and use our guide to growing, How To Grow Juicy Tasty Tomatoes, to ensure your tomatoes are sweet and delicious!