Grow your own tomatoes
Best Buy salad tomatoes
By Ceri Thomas
Article 3 of 5
Woolly, tasteless tomatoes from the supermarket don't stand a chance next to home-grown salad tomatoes
Tomatoes are the most popular garden vegetable, as they're easy to grow and produce an abundance of fruit. Needless to say, the taste and juiciness of home-grown ones are nothing like the woolly ones from the supermarket.
The Which? Gardening experts have trialled 16 salad-tomato varieties so they can recommend the best ones that not only taste great but also grow well in the UK.
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If you're a Which? member, you can log in to find out which salad-tomato varieties we've included in the table below. If you're not yet a member, you can get instant access with a £1 trial to Which?
|The best salad tomatoes|
|Salad tomato variety||Yield per plant|
|This variety was one of the first varieties to produce ripe tomatoes, starting from mid-July onwards, and there was little green fruit left to mature by the end of September. We harvested a steady supply of small (4.5cm), uniform, scarlet-coloured fruits, weighing around 60g each, from our vigorous plants, which had unusual potato-like leaves. These tomatoes have a firm skin but are easy to chew, with tender and very juicy deep-red flesh and a bright-green central core. The cavities are well-filled with golden seeds. The fruits retain a faint aroma of the vine and their lovely taste balances stronger sweet, savoury and fresh flavours with mild acidity. Find out which tomato variety we're talking about - log in or try a trial to Which? for £1|
|Our second variety is an unusually-coloured tomato which is a rare case where novelty and flavour meet. Its distinctive skin colour comes from higher levels of chlorophyll|
and lycopene, an antioxidant that is being investigated for possible cancer-preventing properties. It is delicious, particularly if you enjoy a firmer tomato with a ripe, tangy flavour. Underneath the glossy, dark greenish-brown skins you’ll find fairly juicy, crisp, red-brown flesh and a green gel holding the seeds. The plants were a week or so slower to mature than our other Best Buy variety and produced a reasonable crop of mid-sized fruits, which have a pointed tip on the bottom. To find out which unusually-coloured variety this is log in or try a trial to Which? for £1
How Which? tested salad tomatoes
We selected 16 salad-tomato varieties that are claimed to be suitable for growing indoors and sometimes outdoors. We sowed our seeds in April, and in May we planted up two growing bags with three plants of each variety and put them in our greenhouse.
All plants were grown as cordons, watered as necessary, and fed with tomato fertiliser. The growing points were pinched out in mid-August to encourage the fruits to swell and ripen. Ripe fruits were picked, weighed and counted each week; fruit quality, ease of growing from seed and plant health were also assessed.
All the tomatoes were sampled by trained taste-testers. These experts can distinguish and rate the individual components of tastes and textures, such as savoury, sweet and succulence, and identify subtle differences in aroma. They also rated how appetising the tomatoes looked.