The fruits

Tomato fruits vary in size from currant tomatoes that weigh less than Vioz (5g) to monster beefsteaks of 2lb (1kg) or more. They can also be found in a rainbow of colors from creamy white to deep purple.

Shapes and sizes

Tomatoes are usually classified according to their shape and size. The familiar round tomato is the standard globe. Small round tomatoes are known as cherries, and those slightly bigger, such as 'Garcia,' usually marketed on the vine, are called cocktail tomatoes. Very tiny fruits are referred to as currant tomatoes. Beefsteak tomatoes can sometimes be the size of a small pumpkin and have a flattened globelike appearance with beautifully ribbed bodies. Plum tomatoes are used traditionally in Italy for preserving and have an elongated, plum shape. Mini-plum tomatoes of the 'Santa' type have become very popular in recent years for snacking.

(In this book, mini-plums can be found in the Plum section, although other sources may classify them as cherries.) There are other shapes of tomato that do not fit easily into a category; in this book, you'll find these in the Weird and wonderful section.

Color

Although most people think of tomatoes as red, they can also be yellow, orange, green, white, nearly black or brown, and various shades of maroon-purple. The fruits may be a single color, speckled or striped with a different color, or multicolored, like 'Big Rainbow' (p63).

SEED CHAMBERS - also known as locules, these are usually constant in varieties

Bilocular fruits Most cherry tomatoes, such as 'Nectar' (p42), contain just two seed chambers.

Trilocular fruits Three seed chambers are common in standard varieties, such as 'Alaskan Fancy' (p66).

Multilocular fruits These are particularly common in beefsteak varieties, such as 'Ananas Noir' (p55).

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