ISSUE 26  |  Farmhouse Style

Why We Need a Blue Tomato

June 29, 2012 7:30 PM

BY Maria Finn

Can a blue tomato help you live forever?

No promises. But it can’t hurt to try a bite. At Oregon State University, Prof. Jim Myers wondered if it was possible to create a tomato that was as irresistible as a blueberry. Twelve years after he started cross-breeding, Indigo Rose has become available to home gardeners, just in time for this year’s growing season. Dubbed a “super tomato” because it has extra health benefits (thanks to the same antioxidants that color a blueberry’s skin), Indigo Rose already has achieved cult status among gardeners. The blue tomato tastes good, too, says Prof. Myers: “I find that Indigo Rose is a very nice eating as well as cooking tomato, with the right balance of sugars and acids.”

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Above: A packet of 40 Indigo Rose seeds is $3.45 from Johnny’s Seeds.

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Above: “There is a learning curve to determining when Indigo Rose is ripe,” says Prof. Myers. “The purple portion will change from a shiny blue hue to a dull brownish purple.” Image by Log House Plants, via Seattle Times.

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Above: Indigo Rose takes its place among about 7,500 other varieties of tomatoes. Indigo Rose is not genetically engineered; rather, it was created through classical plant breeding techniques. In addition to the nutrients of regular tomatoes, Indigo Rose has anthocyanins, which also produce the healthy pigments in red wine and blueberries. Image by Karen Jackson, via Flickr.

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Above: The Japanese hybrid tomato Odoriko; known for blemish free fruit, it’s $3.49 for a packet of 15 seeds from Kitazawa Seed Co. Image via Nipponnin.

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Above: Indigo Rose loses any hint of its dark color when cooked. Image by Susy Morris, via Flickr.