10 types of tomatoes and how to use them

Tomato is a food widely used in the kitchen as a basic ingredient in sauces, salads and cold soups. However, a curious fact that many people do not know is that there are different types of tomatoes, which is useful to identify in which recipes they are convenient to use.

Although it is identified as a vegetable, it is a fruit that comes from a herbaceous plant of the Solanaceae family, whose botanical name is Solanum lycopersicum esculentum. Learn about the different varieties and types of tomatoes that exist in this article.

Origin and characteristics of the tomato

This fruit is native to the western coastal plain of South America, however, it is considered that Mexico was the center of its domestication. Thus, today the commercial tomato has undergone significant genetic changes, so that in addition to the classic reds there are others with yellow, orange and even purple tones.

Added to this diversity in shapes and colors, vast scientific evidence affirms that It is considered a functional food due to its beneficial properties on health attributed to it. Its protective effect is given by a bioactive component called lycopene. But it also contains other substances:

  • Vitamin C.
  • Vitamin E.
  • Beta carotene
  • Phenolic compounds.
  • Flavonoids.
  • Folates
  • Dietary fiber.

Lycopene is the star component of tomato, recognized for its beneficial effects on health.

See also: Main types and varieties of grape

Most important types of tomatoes

Although there are different varieties and types of tomatoes, this time we will tell you 10 of them. But you should know that, with genetic modifications, there may be different sizes, colors and flavors.

1. Cherry tomato

This variety it's a genetic mix between the tomato Solanum pimpinellifolium and the domesticated garden tomato. Its origin dates back to Aztec Mexico, in the 15th century of our era.

It is similar in size to a cherry, has a diameter of between 1 and 3 centimeters, and can be pear-shaped, round or elongated. In turn, it has a taste between sweet and acid and is very aromatic. Until today it is one of the most popular for decoration of dishes. The most common cherry tomatoes are the red ones, but they can also be yellow, green, or black.

2. Grape tomatoes

This variety of tomatoes is about half the size of cherry tomatoes, with elongated shape and virtually no water. Like the previous ones, they are excellent to add to salads or to eat as sandwiches, although they can also be cooked.

These tomatoes also come in a variety of colors ranging from red to yellow or orange. On the other hand, its flavor can be sweet or spicy.

3. Roma tomatoes

Roma tomatoes, also called plum, they are bigger than cherry ones. They have an average of 60 grams. They are sweet and juicy, making them an ideal choice for canning or to make sauces, although they are also popular in salads.

4. Black tomato or kumato

He kumato or black tomato is a variety that has a striking dark green color that is often identified as black. It stands out for its crisp and firm texture, even if it is immature, since its ripening process begins from the inside.

It has an intense sweet flavor, which makes it a special ingredient for salads. It has a remarkable content of lycopenes compared to other varieties, although they are present in a higher concentration in the skin of the fruit.

5. Heirloom tomatoes

The tomatoes heirloom they vary in size and color. They can have shades ranging from yellow, bright green, and even purplish-red. Their shapes can be round, elongated or flattened.

These are prized for their flavor, which is why they are used for sauces, canned and eaten alone or in salads.

6. Vine tomatoes

Vine tomatoes are a variety that is still commercialized attached to the vine in which they grow, since in this way its useful life is extended.

According to various investigations, these types of tomatoes contain higher levels of antioxidants and other nutrients than are harvested before maximum maturity. They are generally large in size that allows them to be used for sandwiches, but also for preserves and sauces.

7. Green tomatoes

Green tomatoes can be divided into two: heirlooms (green when ripe) and red. They are firm and easy to cut.

In some regions unripe green tomatoes are used for cooking. For example, to make them battered with cornmeal and then fried. This type is also used for canning and making sauces.

They have a spicy and slightly acid taste, so they impart a unique flavor and color. A common use they have is to make condiments for sandwiches and meats.

A highlight is that unripe green tomatoes have more alkaloids than ripe ones, which makes them harder to digest. For this reason, in some people they can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, as stated in the study "Detoxification and function of immature tomato".

8. Tomato steak

This type of tomato has a large number of hybrids, so it can be slightly flattened, practically flat or round. They have enough firmness and strength, so they do not crack. They are adapted to greenhouse and outdoor cultivation.

They are red in color, although there are some yellow fruits. They are perfect for cutting into sandwiches and hamburgers.

9. Pepper tomato

They are also called tomatoes from the Andes. These fruits are shaped like an elongated pepper and hence its name. This type is compact and fleshy, so it is usual to eat them fresh or to make homemade preserves.

10. Tomato cocktail

This type of tomato has small fruits that they weigh between 30 and 50 grams and are similar to the cherry type. They can be round, pear, oval or bulb shaped and red, green, yellow and orange in color.

They are used in the industry to make concentrated or pureed tomatoes. They are also attractive as a decorative ingredient in various dishes.

Tomatoes admit different preparations. It is possible to make preserves to take advantage of its properties for a longer time.

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Best uses for each type of tomato

Because there are so many different types, it can be difficult to choose which one will best suit your culinary needs. In general, you can use them as follows:

  • Skewers: cherry.
  • Sandwiches: vine tomatoes and steak.
  • Fried: green tomatoes.
  • Appetizers: grape, cherry, heirloom.
  • Sauces: Rome, relic, in branch.
  • Preserves: vine tomatoes, greens, Roma, heirloom.
  • Salads: grape, cherry.

There are different types of tomatoes

As you will see, there are different types of tomatoes. Despite their various shapes and colors, they are all healthy foods. They are low in calories and provide several nutrients and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lycopene.

Therefore, including tomatoes in the diet is an excellent option to preserve health. Do not forget that you can eat them in salads, soups, sauces, preserves or whatever you like.