I don’t suppose tomato blossoms really have a smell. If they do, it is overwhelmed by smell of tomato foliage, which is still a pleasing scent.
Poor little tomato blossoms. Gardeners watch for them. We laud their appearance and lament their falls. We count the days from blossom to fruit. They are essential to the process of bringing forth tomato fruit into the world and yet, do we ever stop to look at them?
Several years ago, around the time I first started to explore the world of heirloom tomatoes, I was alarmed to find that the blossoms on one of my tomato plants didn’t look quite right. They were too full, too frilly. I fretted a bit, but eventually let it go and hoped for the best. I got perfectly normal tomatoes from the plant so I supposed nothing was wrong. But I did watch my tomato blossoms a little more closely after that. It wasn’t long until I discovered that tomato blossoms can vary as much as their fruit does.
If you have never noticed this about tomato blossoms, I would not be surprised. Besides the whole craving for fresh tomatoes that blinds even the most observant of people, tomato blossoms, for the most part, are shy. While squash and cucumber blossoms flaunt themselves around the garden like a cheerleader in the back of the quarterback’s car, tomato blossoms keep their yellow skirts demurely pointed towards the ground. You have to make an effort to peek under those petals.
I have found that tomato blossoms can be double or single. Have 5 petals or 10 or more. They can have thin frilly petals or just a few broad ones. So far, I have not noticed a pattern to the size and shape of the blossom to the color and taste of the fruit, but to be honest, I have not given the topic too much thought.
Tomatoes are one of the garden’s finest products, and its flowers will never be a startling centerpiece. But sometimes it is nice to take note of the prelude to the culinary symphony.