Tomatoes are Canada’s favourite garden vegetable (botanically, tomatoes are a fruit, but since they’re used as a vegetable in eating and cooking they’re usually categorized as such.) With such a myriad of sizes, flavours, and varieties, it’s easy to see why they're so loved. Tomatoes can be enjoyed in many ways, including: raw, in sauces, salads, and drinks, and as an ingredient in countless dishes.
The tomato species originated in the South American Andes, but its use as a food originated in Mexico, and spread throughout the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas.
Because of the vast choice of tomato varieties (more than 7,500!), choosing a favourite is no easy task. But here are a few unique seed varieties I find particularly interesting, and delicious:
Tomato - "Banana Legs"
This fun and tasty tomato is similar in shape and colour to a small banana. The fruit has a mild taste and a meaty flesh, making them fantastic for slicing into salads.
Banana Legs is an extremely prolific tomato with 4" yellow fruits that ripen to a golden yellow with distinctive pale stripes.
With enough light, Banana Legs produces so much fruit, that late in the season you can barely make out foliage amongst the tightly clumped fruits!
Tomatillos - "Two Colour Fiesta"
When thinking of salsa, tomatoes are usually the first ingredient that comes to mind. But, believe it or not, the essential ingredient in the green salsas of Mexican cuisine is not the tomato but the tomatillo: a fruit with a sweet and tangy flavour.
Easy to grow, tomatillos look like large green cherry tomatoes. And, similar to candy, tomatillos are individually wrapped in a thin papery husk.
By late summer, what seems like thousands of fruits dangle from the plant's branches, ensuring that you can more than satisfy your salsa cravings by summer's end.
Tomato - "Sweetie"
"Sweetie" tomatoes are an incredibly sweet, red, cherry tomato with a high sugar content and full bodied tomato flavour. They produce masses of grape-sized round fruit in large clusters that keep coming all summer long. Sweetie tomatoes make fantastic additions to a raw vegetable tray and are ideal for salads and garnish. You’ll love them!
If you're interested in learning more about how to grow tomatoes, join Jim Hole for an informative workshop on April 18th or May 9th 2015 at the Enjoy Centre. The workshop will cover the best planting techniques, correct soil and nutrients for our zone, tomato seed varieties and types, diseases and prevention, pests and how to protect your harvests, watering and much more.