A Quick Guide to Tomato Flavors By Color

Red, orange, yellow, black, purple, and white tomatoes: do they taste the same? The short answer - no. Tomato flavors vary by color. But you probably already guessed that, right?

If you’re new to gardening, odds are you want to try your hand at growing your own tomatoes. Nothing beats a fresh vine-ripened garden tomato, hot from the summer sun and bursting with flavor. Heirloom tomatoes are especially prized for their beautiful variety of colors. If you’re wondering, yes, color has a definite influence on the flavor of the tomato.

While every tomato is different, there are a few general rules to help you figure out what tomatoes you’d like to grow based on color.

Tomato Flavors by Color

Purple & Black 

In our experience, purple and black tomatoes have a savory, salty flavor. They’re acidic and complex.

black cherry tomato

Some of the most popular home-grown tomatoes are in this category because of their intense flavor profile. The blue-black color indicates the presence of anthocyanins - a fancy word for the healthy blue pigment that colors blueberries, red cabbage, and purple potatoes.

Mild White

On the other end of the color spectrum is the mild white tomato. These tomatoes aren’t really white, but more of a pale yellow or green color. Their flavor is mild and delicate, with a slightly fruity flavor. Eat these tomatoes fresh, as their low acid levels don’t preserve as well as other tomatoes.

Red

homestead tomato

Red tomatoes are the most familiar, delivering the classic tomato flavor. You can expect a balance of acid and sweetness with red tomatoes, and a healthy dose of lycopene! Enjoy fresh delicious sliced red tomatoes on a sandwich or can them for later use.

Green

green tomatoes

Most tomatoes start off green, of course. A few stay green even through ripeness. True green tomatoes have a lower lycopene content than reds, but they retain their chlorophyll even when ripe. They’ve got a bright, tangy acidity that can add a zip to your dishes.

Orange & Yellow

brandywine tomato

Orange and yellow tomatoes are sweet and fruity. Often people who aren’t tomato fans find that they do enjoy orange and yellow tomatoes, especially grape or cherry-sized varieties. Pop them in your mouth and enjoy the taste explosion!

If you were a little overwhelmed at the sheer diversity of tomatoes available, hopefully, this guide helped you decide what you’re interested in growing. After you’ve had some success with your tomatoes, you’ll learn which ones tickle your tastebuds. A warning though: be prepared to become a little bit of a snob. You’ll never look at grocery store tomatoes without feeling a little sad about what could have been.

Written by Teresa Chandler