Yoom® Cocktail Tomatoes
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Yoom tomatoes are a small to medium-sized varietal, averaging 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter, and have a uniform, round to ovate appearance. The tomatoes can be found still attached to the pliable, olive-green vine, enhancing the overall aroma with a fresh and vegetal scent, or they can be sold detached and loose. The tomato's skin is thin, taut, glossy, and smooth, showcasing dark purple, almost black hues to lighter purple shades, depending on where the variety is grown. In northern latitudes, the skin will generally exhibit lighter purple shades, while in southern regions, the skin will darken in intensity with more hours of sunlight. The most distinct feature of the variety is the small, star-like formation surrounding the spot where the fruit connects to the calyx. This star is formed by the calyx shielding that portion of the skin from the sun, and it is a unique method to determine whether the tomatoes are ripe. Yoom tomatoes with an orange-red star are ripe and ready to eat, while green stars indicate that the fruits need a little more time to develop. Underneath the skin, the flesh is crisp, aqueous, and tender with a succulent, full-bodied consistency. The saturated red flesh also encases thin chambers of gelatinous liquid, suspending tiny yellow oval seeds. These seeds are edible and unnoticeable in the tomato's texture. Yoom tomatoes contain balanced sugar and acidity levels to create an intense, rich, and complex taste with savory, tangy, and sweet notes followed by lingering nuances of umami.
Yoom tomatoes are grown in both hemispheres, providing year-round availability.
Yoom tomatoes, botanically classified as Solanum lycopersicum, are a modern variety belonging to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. The pigmented, intensely flavored tomato is the first black, also known as purple, cocktail tomato released to commercial markets and represents a new type of tomato for increased consumer appeal. Yoom tomatoes were created through years of natural but strategic breeding techniques in the early 21st century to develop a cocktail tomato with a crunchy consistency, juicy nature, and a concentrated umami flavor. The indeterminate variety is grown in greenhouses worldwide and is left on the vine to reach the optimum flavor, texture, and appearance. Chefs and consumers favor Yoom tomatoes for their deeply saturated, purple-black hues. This distinct coloring is reinvigorating the cocktail tomato division within commercial markets, a welcomed departure from the standard bright red offerings. Yoom tomatoes are promoted as a "two-bite tomato" and are a versatile variety utilized in fresh and cooked, sweet and savory preparations.
Yoom tomatoes have high concentrations of anthocyanins and carotenoids. Anthocyanins are pigmented compounds that give the flesh its purple-black hue, and carotenoids are red, orange, or yellow pigments found within the tomato's flesh. Both anthocyanins and carotenoids have antioxidant-like properties to protect the cells in the body against the damage caused by free radicals. Yoom tomatoes also contain vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, potassium to balance fluid levels, magnesium to support nerve functions, and other nutrients, including iron, selenium, calcium, vitamins A and E, and fiber. In addition to antioxidants to protect the body, Yoom tomatoes are a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s act as an anti-inflammatory to help with hypercholesterolemia, or high levels of cholesterol in the blood, a condition that affects over fifty percent of the population.
Yoom tomatoes have a rich, balanced, sweet, and acidic taste suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The tomatoes can be consumed straight out of hand as a refreshing, two-bite snack or sliced and tossed into salads. Yoom tomatoes can also be chopped into salsas, halved and filled with dips, layered on toast, or mixed into grain bowls or pasta. Try incorporating Yoom tomatoes in carpaccio to add color and flavor or slice and use as an edible decoration on savory breakfast dishes and pastries. In addition to fresh preparations, Yoom tomatoes retain their umami-filled flavor when heated. The tomatoes can be roasted, sauteed, baked, or blistered and served in noodles, topped over meats, stirred into vegetables, or added to casseroles. They can also be baked into bread and muffins or simmered into jams, compotes, and chutney. In Europe, Hungarian gastro influencer Marton Adrienn once made three Yoom-centric dishes to promote the newly released variety. Adrienn utilized the tomatoes in a spinach-ricotta tart, a panzanella, and a baked feta cream with basil tomatoes. Yoom tomatoes pair well with cheeses such as ricotta, brie, parmesan, feta, and mozzarella, fish including tuna, anchovies, and salmon, herbs such as mint, basil, parsley, tarragon, and oregano, and fresh greens including spinach, lamb's lettuce, microgreens, and arugula. Whole, unwashed Yoom tomatoes will keep for 7 to 10 days when stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
The name Yoom was inspired by the word umami, a term used to describe the tomato's flavor. Umami roughly translates from Japanese to mean "essence of deliciousness" and was first coined by Japanese Dr. Kikunae Ikeda while he was consuming a bowl of kombu dashi or kelp broth. Dr. Ikeda recognized a taste distinct from salty, bitter, sour, and sweet and named the new taste umami to describe a savory, full, and lingering flavor. After its discovery, umami became a term extensively studied in the 20th and 21st centuries. Scientists generally agree that there are five basic tastes: bitter, sweet, salty, sour, and umami, and umami taste receptors were discovered on the human tongue in 2002. These five tastes describe the story of food and flavor, and umami is a savory taste that often arises from natural compounds found in the tomato's flesh. Yoom tomatoes have a combination of amino acids, especially glutamate, to develop a robust umami flavor, and this taste in the flesh is thought to increase the intensity and flavor of the overall eating experience.
Yoom tomatoes are an innovation of the Vegetable Seeds Division of Syngenta; a global science-based agtech company focused on creating improved seeds to support farmers worldwide. The variety was developed using traditional and natural breeding methods under the leadership of Luis Ortega, the chief tomato breeder of Syngenta. Ortega has been a part of Syngenta for over 25 years, and his passion for agriculture is rooted in personal connections, as his father and brother are farmers. Ortega is also well-known for creating the famous Kumato brown tomato; a successful cultivar sold worldwide. The story of Yoom tomatoes began in the early 21st century when Ortega and his colleagues decided to breed a new tomato with a high concentration of nutrients, intense flavor, and an aesthetically pleasing appearance. They began selecting various tomato cultivars in 2008 and spent years crossing varieties to highlight specific traits within the plants. Ortega and his team often hand-pollinated the plants using tweezers or small devices to transfer the selected pollen in greenhouses in Almeria, Spain, and the greenhouses were heavily monitored to provide ideal growing conditions. From the thousands of crosses, around ten hybrid tomatoes were selected for rigorous evaluations and were planted in several locations in Australia, Mexico, Spain, France, and Japan for a two-year trial. During this study, the plants were evaluated for their acid and sugar levels to create an ideal flavor, but they were also examined for their shipping abilities and storage life. One tomato plant was eventually selected as the new, long-awaited variety. Yoom tomatoes were officially released in 2019 at the Fruit Logistica show in Berlin, Germany. Since their release, the variety has been recognized through several prestigious awards. Yoom tomatoes received the 3 Star Superior Flavor Award from the International Flavor Institute of Brussels, given by a jury of over 200 international chefs and sommeliers who underwent a blind taste test to rate the entries. Yoom tomatoes were also given the Gold Award at Fruit Logistica in 2020 in Berlin, an honor assigned to the industry's ten most innovative fruits and vegetables. Outside of its success in Europe, Yoom tomatoes were introduced to the United States through the Global Produce & Floral Show in 2022 in Orlando, Florida. In North America, the variety is currently being grown through Nature Fresh Farms and Windset Farms in fields located in Canada and Mexico. Today Yoom tomatoes are sold on the vine or loose in eco-friendly packaging and are grown in select regions of North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, establishing the tomato as a year-round variety.