The grape tomato's hearty skin and high yield per plant, enhanced sweetness and convenient size make it a popular choice for snacking and salads.
The thin skin and high water content of the cherry tomato made shipping difficult, and many consumers were not impressed with its variable flavor. A new strain,created in Southeast Asia which combined the thicker skin of the beefsteak-style tomato with the size and flavor of the Italian Roma tomato. The result was a first generation hybrid fruit with a thick skin, low water content and an intense sweetness. Because it resembled an olive or grape, this new variety became known as a grape tomato.
Because the grape tomato is a hybrid, seeds produced directly from the fruit cannot be used to grow more plants.
The flavor of a grape tomato is noticeably sweeter than a Roma or cherry tomato. Some bars in Asia offer customers bowls of grape tomatoes instead of the usual salted peanuts.
Because the grape tomato grows in clusters on a small vine, harvesting can be very labor intensive. The fruit must be picked at a point when the color is changing from light pink to a hint of red. A green grape tomato will not continue to ripen off the vine. However, a grape tomato does enjoy a year-round growing season, so it should be available even when other tomato varieties are out of season.
Some grape tomato cultivars include 'Gabrielle', 'Mini Charm', 'Summer Sweet', 'Sweet Olive', 'Grapette', and 'Green Grape'. The fruit of 'Green Grape' remain green at maturity.
- Grape Tomato & Avocado Salad
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 white onion, chopped
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 TB fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, or mixture of both
2 avocados, diced
High quality sea salt, such as Fleur de Sal
In a non-reactive glass bowl toss together the tomatoes, onion, olive oil, lemon juice and parsley or cilantro. Add the avocado and lightly toss. Season to taste with sea salt. Chill if not serving immediately.
Per serving (212g-wt.): 190 calories (140 from fat), 16g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 3g protein, 13g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium
- Grape Tomato, Ricotta and Basil Bake
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 pints grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons (25 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh breadcrumbs, preferably whole grain
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (25 mL) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (45 mL) light sour cream
1 cup (250 mL) light ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons (25 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
2 egg whites
Preheat oven to 425°F/ 230°C.
Prepare an 8x8-inch (20-cm) baking dish by spraying with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Add tomatoes and olive oil and toss to coat. Spread tomatoes evenly in dish.
In small bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, garlic, half of basil, 1/4 teaspoon each salt (1 mL) and pepper. Sprinkle half of mixture over tomatoes.
In a food processor, mix together flour and sour cream until smooth. Add ricotta, Parmesan cheese, egg, egg whites, remaining basil and salt; process until well blended. Spread over breadcrumb layer. Sprinkle remaining breadcrumb mixture over cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until topping is golden. Serve immediately.
Calories: 190, Protein: 10 grams, Fat: 11 grams, Saturated Fat: 5 grams, Carbohydrate: 11 grams, Dietary Fibre: 2 grams, Dietary Cholesterol: 60 milligrams, Sodium: 399 milligrams, Potassium: 299 milligrams