Friday, August 03, 2012

Fenton Friday: A TRUE Purple Tomato

There is a very funky tomato ripening this week at my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Garden. It is purple -- true purple -- not just purple in name as so many other tomatoes are but actually ripen to a dark burgundy shade. This one is 'Indigo Rose.'

The foliage on the plant is also interesting as it started out as a seedling growing almost charcoal black, now it has greened up a bit. The 'Indigo Rose' is slightly larger than a cherry tomato and is oval-ish in shape. I have not tasted one yet, but will this week after giving it a few more days to ripen fully on the vine.

It is new to the home grower market. The 'Indigo Rose' was developed by Jim Myers at Oregon State University. Don't worry folks, it is not some GMO monstrosity, this tomato was bred traditionally with wild varieties from Chile and the Galapagos Islands.

The breeders were seeking to create a tomato with high levels of antioxidants and this is the first one to have anthocyanins in its fruit. (Other tomatoes have it in their foliage, which is inedible.) According to the OSU web site, "Anthocyanins are in the class of flavonoids – compounds found in fruits, vegetables and beverages – that have aroused interest because of their potential health benefits. They have many varied effects on human health, but while they are powerful antioxidants in the test tube, we don’t really know whether they have an antioxidant effect in the human body."

So time will tell, whether this tomato breeding break-through is a true boon to human health. Meanwhile, it sure is pretty!

2 comments:

Eileen Schramm said...

Mine is not very satisfying. It seems to go from unripe (purple patch on green) to ripe-ish (purple patch on yellow) and then what should be ripe (purple on red). But after it starts turning yellow it also gets mealier and by red I consider it inedible.
I have been picking them unripe and roasting/charring them. They taste sort of like tomatillos/green plums then.
Curious what others think?

WashingtonGardener said...

Eileen - I'm having trouvle waiting for "fully ripe" -- so far have eaten mine while still in purple-green stage. They were firm and tomato-y. Not sweet, but fine.

Anyone else wait til ripe? What was your impression?