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The Indigo Rose cherry tomato has skin that is glossy and smooth, and the fruit has the archetypal cherry tomato shape and size, however its crown is covered by a unique deep-purple, burgundy glow. The lower half of the fruit, and areas of the tomato hidden by leaves, will be orange-red in color, as the purple pigment of anthocyanin is produced only in those areas that are exposed to sunlight. If you were to pick an Indigo Rose and expose the non-purple areas to sunlight, the purple skin-color would form within a week. The Indigo Rose is fragrant, with notes of paprika and smoke, and its flesh is both meaty and succulent, as its seeds burst in the mouth with acidity and the flesh counters with sweetness and depth. Indigo Rose plants are open-pollinated, and produce a heavy crop whether they are planted in pots or a traditional garden. Even though they are more compact than other indeterminate tomato varieties, the plants do benefit from staking, and they show good resistance to fungal disease and blights.
Indigo Rose cherry tomatoes are available in the summer.
All tomatoes are members of the Solanacea, or nightshade, family, along with the potato, eggplant and tobacco. The Indigo Rose cherry tomato is a natural hybrid containing genes from the wild species Solanum lycopersicoides S. chilense and S. cheesemanii, which contain anthocyanin, the water-soluble pigment found in purple fruits, as well as genes from cultivated species that are known for possessing good flavor attributes and high fruit quality.
The purple skin of the Indigo Rose boasts high levels of anthocyanins, disease fighting compounds that could help fight cancer, reduce inflammation, and slow the aging process. Research suggests that anthocyanins have strong healing properties, however it is still unknown how the anthocyanins will express themselves in the fruit and if they will translate into health benefits when consumed.
Indigo Rose cherry tomatoes are great for fresh eating, but can also easily replace cherry tomatoes in any recipe, either hot or cold. Raw Indigo Rose cherry tomatoes are exemplary in salads and fresh salsas, or they can even be cooked and processed to make compotes and jams, or blanched and pureed for soups and granitas. Like other cherry tomato varieties, Indigo Rose cherry tomatoes pair wonderfully with citrus, especially lemon and lime, mild and bitter salad greens, olive oil, vinaigrettes, young and milky cheeses, eggs, cream, hazelnuts, pine nuts, avocados, basil, pineapple, mint, cilantro, and seafood, such as scallops, shrimp, crab and fish, or grilled and roasted meats and poultry. Store Indio Rose tomatoes at room temperature until ripe, approximately two or three days, and away from direct sunlight until ready to use. Refrigeration can then be used to slow the process of decay and keep tomatoes from ripening further. Bring refrigerated tomatoes to room temperature before serving them raw.
The Indigo Rose cherry tomato was bred in the United States specifically for its antioxidant potential, and it is the first improved tomato variety in the world that has anthocyanins in its fruit. Until the release of the Indigo Rose, tomatoes grown in home gardens have had the beneficial pigment only in their leaves and stems, which are inedible, and only wild tomato varieties contained anthocyanins in their fruit. Exploring the potential health benefits of the purple anthocyanins in the fruit was actually the most important goal for the breeders at Oregon State University. While other fruits have a higher concentration of anthocyanin, tomatoes are consumed on practically a daily basis in the United States. On average, Americans eat about ninety pounds per person per year of fresh and processed tomatoes. They are second only to potatoes in consumption of fruits and vegetables.
The history of the Indigo Rose cherry tomato is brief and elusive. In the 1960s, breeders from Bulgaria and the United States began the cross-cultivation of wild tomato strains from South America, specifically Chile and Galapagos, with cultivated varieties. No public information is known regarding the timeline of events that brought the Indigo Rose to the to the Oregon State Horticultural Department, where continued research would eventually bring it successfully to the market. Vegetable breeder, Jim Myers, headed the development of Indigo Rose until its release to the public in 2011.
Recipes that include Indigo RoseTomatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.