Part of Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2006
You know how when you buy a DVD, they give you extra stuff in addition to the promised movie you bought in the first place? They normally call it Bonus Material. With Hanna’s Tomato Tastings, we give you Bonus Material too. And you didn’t even have to pay for the DVD.
My better-gardener-than-I-am neighbor, Maxine, brought over a few tomatoes from her garden and said that I just had to add them to my review.
The tag on the tomato read “Healthy Choice”, but I could not find any tomato on the internet called Healthy Choice. But then again, she bought it at a nursery that is better known for charging high prices than accurately labeling their plants.
What I did find is a tomato called “Health Kick” that looks exactly like it and exactly fits the description of the supposed “Healthy Choice”. I am 95% sure that they are one in the same. If you know they are not, please let me know and I will make the proper corrections.
Sooooo, Health Kick is a tomato that has made the biggest tomato news in the past decade. It is bred to have have 50% more lycopene than the average tomato. Lycopene is considered to be one of the best antioxidants available. By the way, we Americans consume more of lycopene than we do any other antioxidant. Now, go to your fridge and thank your ketchup for helping that to happen.
The description from the company Maxine bought it from reads:
Matures in 65-75 days. Known for containing 50% more lycopene, a beneficial antioxidant.
The Beauty Pageant:
Size: This looks like the Italian Roma tomatoes my mother grew. It is about as long as my pinkie. A nice size plum tomato.
Shape: Good smooth, plum shape. Pretty as a picture.
The inside: This is a very not juicy tomato. It is as close to desert conditions as I have ever seen in a tomato (And I cut open 3 of these tomatoes) Not a drop of liquid came out when I cut them and even now, a good 15-20 minutes later, a finger run across the cut is only damp and only when it hits the seeds and gelatin.
The walls are pretty thick so this is a meaty tomato.
The gelatin is tight and seeds tightly compacted.
Texture: It is a paste tomato, so it is you are going to expect mealiness. Very firm. These are properly ripe tomatoes (you can tell by the taste and color) and they are also almost as firm as a green tomato.
Off the Vine Tasting: Good tomato taste but, for those who like sweet tomatoes, this is not a sweet tomato. It is tangy. The mealiness is distracting as is the severe lack of any juice. But, before you write this off, paste tomatoes were never meant to be eaten of the vine anyway.
Sliced and Salted Tasting: Salt just intensifies the tangy tomato taste. It does not change the flavor much other than to make it stronger.
My neighbor raved about how well this tomato cooked up. She is a big fan of chunky tomato sauces. She told me that this tomato cooked up great in sauce, the pieces keeping firm and whole even after long cooking.
I am not surprised by this. This is an incredibly firm tomato. I can easily believe that this tomato can hold up to any sort of cooking heat you throw at it.
This would be a great tomato for chunky cooked sauces, whether you do slow cooked or hit-the-pan.
Maxine had nothing but fantastic things to say about this tomato. She said that when the rest of her tomatoes were languishing in the heat wave we had, this tomato just went on growing. When other tomatoes in her garden had just started putting out blossoms (because they were recovering from the heat wave), this tomato was setting fruit. Good bushy plant that gets to about 4′ tall.
Will Hanna or Maxine grow this one again:
Maxine probably will if she can find it at our local nursery again. She loves it.
As for me… Well, it is a nice paste tomato and it is extra healthy. But it is a hybrid. And that means that seed saving is probably not possible. On the other hand, I don’t grow seeds really anyway. And it is blight and wilt resistant. But, and there is always a but, the flavor is not as complex as an heirloom. It is straight forward… well, tomato. It will make my short list, but I am still looking for the consummate plum tomato.