By Vanessa Richins
Many people aim to grow the world’s largest tomato.
Have some fun and go for the opposite route – harvest some tiny tomatoes the size of peas.
Currant tomatoes (Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium) are closely related to our standard garden tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) and are very similar to the wild tomatoes of Central America.
Other common names include wild tomato, Wild Florida Everglades Tomato and spoon tomato.
These little heirlooms are bursting with flavor. They produce hundreds of sugar packed fruits on indeterminate vines. Health benefits abound as they have forty times as much lycopene as common tomatoes. They are best grown with support as they tend to sprawl.
Try growing it next to a fence since it is low growing and can be difficult to train on stakes. The fruits will stay on the vines in clusters until all have ripened. If you are saving seeds from your other tomato plants, be sure to isolate your currant tomatoes as crossbreeding may happen. These are especially exciting for children’s gardens.
Follow my favorite practice for any tomato- eat them straight off the vine for breakfast. They are a wonderful addition to any salad.
Toss with couscous. Sun dry them to make your own tomato raisins. Mix with fresh mozzarella and a balsamic vinaigrette. Freeze them for a cooling summer treat. Use them as part of a garnish. The possibilities are endless!
Some common varieties (including some newer hybrids) include:
- Hawaiian Currant
- Jungle Salad
- Spoon (Hybrid)
- White Mexican Currant
- Red and Yellow Blend Currant
- Cerise Orange
- Gold Rush
- Golden Rave (Hybrid)
- Matt’s Wild Cherry
- Sugar Plum (Hybrid)
- Sweet Pea
Join me in growing the littlest wonder this season – the currant tomato.