Definitions

Cherry tomato

Cherry tomato

A cherry tomato is a smaller garden variety of tomato. It is marketed at a premium to ordinary tomatoes, and is popular as a snack and in salads. Cherry tomatoes are generally considered to be similar but not identical to the wild precursor of the domestic tomato. They are often sweeter than standard tomatoes.

Cherry tomatoes range in size from a thumbtip up to the size of a golf ball, and can range from being spherical to slightly oblong in shape. The more oblong ones often share characteristics with plum tomatoes, and are known as grape tomatoes.

Biology

The cherry tomato is regarded as a botanical variety of the cultivated tomato, Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme. It was widely cultivated in Central America when the Conquistadores arrived and is thought to be the ancestor of all cultivated tomatoes. The cherry tomato has 24 chromosomes, and a short style.

Cultivars

There are a number of cherry tomato varieties. Perhaps the most popular in US and British gardens are "Sweet 100" and "Gardener's Delight" respectively.

The Santorini cherry tomato originated in Santorini (Greece), and is known for its flavour and body. International conferences dedicated to the cultivation, horticulture and agriculture of the cherry tomato are also held at Santorini.

The 'Cherry' Tomato

The Cherry Family of Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, UK are reknown for cooking cherry tomatoes in a baste derived of vinegar, pepper and herbs. The tomatoes are then lightly fried until producing a popping sound from their over-heated skins.

The recipe remains popular in Birmingham and the Black Country, is often served with cooked breakfasts. Indeed, some establishments serve Beefsteak Tomatoes and other in the Cherry baste under the name 'Cherry Tomatoes'.

Although a longstanding favourite, the method is undergoing a resurgence in popularity outside of the Midlands region thanks to the efforts of James Cherry, the youngest son of the dynasty, and its featuring on celebrity cooking programmes.

See also

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