Chocolate Cherry Tomato: A Burst of Flavor and Nutrition

In the world of tomatoes, few varieties can match the captivating allure of the Chocolate Cherry Tomato. With its seductive dark chocolate hue and an irresistible burst of sweetness, this tiny tomato has captured the hearts and taste buds of gardeners and food enthusiasts alike.

More than just a visually stunning addition to your garden or plate, the Chocolate Cherry Tomato boasts a unique blend of flavors and an impressive nutritional profile, making it a true culinary delight.

A Brief History of the Chocolate Cherry Tomato

The Chocolate Cherry tomato is a relatively recent addition to the world of heirloom tomatoes. It was first introduced in the early 2000s by the Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing heirloom seeds. The variety was developed by cross-breeding two heirloom tomatoes: the Green Zebra and the Evergreen.

While the exact origin of the Chocolate Cherry tomato is unclear, its unique color and flavor quickly captured the attention of gardeners and chefs alike. Today, it has become a beloved addition to gardens and farmers’ markets around the world, prized for its distinctive appearance and delicious taste.

Quick Facts

  • Color: Deep brown blush with rich brick red hues as it ripens
  • Size: Small cherry tomatoes, typically weighing 1-2 ounces
  • Shape: Uniform, globular shape with slight shouldering near the stem
  • Taste: Deliciously sweet and tangy with a complex flavor profile
  • Texture: Juicy and crack-resistant
  • Plant Type: Indeterminate vining plants
  • Days to Maturity: Around 70 days from transplanting
  • Yield: Bountiful harvest with proper care
  • Heat Tolerance: Sensitive to cold temperatures, thrives in warm climates
  • Hardiness Zone: Best grown in zones 3-10

Pros

  • Unique and eye-catching appearance with chocolate-like blush
  • Packed with antioxidants like lycopene and anthocyanins
  • Rich in vitamins C, A, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber
  • Excellent for fresh eating, salads, sauces, and canning
  • Attractive addition to any garden or culinary dish

Cons

  • Cold-sensitive variety requires warm temperatures to thrive
  • Shorter shelf life compared to some other tomato varieties
  • Requires staking or caging due to indeterminate growth habit
  • Can be challenging to find seeds or seedlings in some areas

Characteristics of the Chocolate Cherry Tomato

Appearance

One of the most striking features of the Chocolate Cherry tomato is its deep, rich color. When fully ripe, the skin takes on a beautiful mahogany or chocolate-brown hue, which is a result of the high levels of anthocyanin pigments present in the fruit. These pigments not only give the tomato its unique color but also provide antioxidant properties.

In terms of size, the Chocolate Cherry tomato is a true cherry variety, typically measuring between 1 and 1.5 inches in diameter. The fruits are round or slightly oblong in shape and have glossy, smooth skin.

Flavor

The Chocolate Cherry tomato is renowned for its complex and delicious flavor. Unlike traditional cherry tomatoes, which can sometimes taste overly sweet or acidic, the Chocolate Cherry has a wonderful balance of sweetness and rich, earthy notes.

Many describe the flavor as having hints of chocolate, wine, or even smoke, making it a truly unique and memorable taste experience. The tomato’s flavor is also intensified by its high sugar content, which contributes to its overall sweetness and depth of flavor.

Growing Season

The Chocolate Cherry tomato is an indeterminate variety, meaning it will continue to produce fruit throughout the growing season until the first frost. In most regions, the plants will begin bearing fruit around 70-80 days after transplanting and continue to produce until the end of the growing season.

Growing and Caring for Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes

Planting Zones

The Chocolate Cherry tomato is a relatively hardy variety and can be grown in a wide range of climates. It thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-10, making it suitable for gardeners in most regions of the United States and beyond.

Soil and Sun Requirements

Like most tomato varieties, the Chocolate Cherry tomato prefers well-draining, nutrient-rich soil with a slightly acidic pH between 6.0 and 6.8. It also requires at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day, so choose a sunny spot in your garden for planting.

Planting and Spacing

When planting Chocolate Cherry tomato seedlings or transplants, it’s essential to provide adequate spacing for optimal growth and air circulation. Space plants 18-24 inches apart in rows, or use a tomato cage or trellis to support the vines as they grow.

Water and Fertilizer Requirements

Consistent watering is crucial for the Chocolate Cherry tomato to thrive. Aim to keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged, providing about 1-2 inches of water per week. Mulching around the plants can help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Fertilizing your Chocolate Cherry tomato plants with a balanced, organic fertilizer every 4-6 weeks can help promote healthy growth and abundant fruit production.

Pruning and Staking

As an indeterminate variety, the Chocolate Cherry tomato plant can grow quite large and may benefit from pruning and staking or caging. Pruning involves removing suckers (side shoots) from the main stem, which can help redirect the plant’s energy into fruit production.

Staking or caging the plants can also help support the weight of the fruit and prevent the vines from breaking or falling over.

Common Pests and Diseases

Like any tomato variety, the Chocolate Cherry is susceptible to common pests and diseases, such as aphids, tomato hornworms, and blight. Practicing good garden hygiene, crop rotation, and using organic pest control methods can help prevent and manage these issues.

Harvesting and Enjoying Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes

When to Harvest

The Chocolate Cherry tomato is ready for harvest when it has reached its full, deep mahogany color and feels slightly soft to the touch. This typically occurs around 70-80 days after transplanting, but the exact timing may vary based on your growing conditions.

Storage and Preservation

Fresh Chocolate Cherry tomatoes can be stored at room temperature for a few days or refrigerated for up to a week. To extend their shelf life, you can also consider preserving them through canning, drying, or freezing.

A Nutritional Powerhouse

Beyond its captivating flavor and appearance, the Chocolate Cherry Tomato is a true nutritional powerhouse. These tiny morsels are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that offer a host of health benefits.

One of the standout nutrients found in the Chocolate Cherry Tomato is lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that gives the tomato its distinctive dark hue. Lycopene has been linked to a reduced risk of various cancers, heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration. Additionally, these tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium, all of which contribute to a healthy immune system, bone health, and proper muscle function.

Culinary Versatility of Cherry Tomato

The Chocolate Cherry Tomato’s unique flavor and bite-sized shape make it a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. These tomatoes can elevate a wide range of dishes, from salads and appetizers to main courses and even desserts.

For a simple yet elegant starter, try a caprese salad with fresh basil leaves, mozzarella pearls, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The sweetness of the Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes perfectly complements the creamy mozzarella and tangy balsamic dressing.

In the realm of main dishes, these tomatoes can add a burst of flavor to pasta sauces, pizzas, and even grilled meats or fish. Roasting or sautéing the tomatoes can intensify their flavors, making them an excellent addition to savory dishes.

For those with a sweet tooth, the Chocolate Cherry Tomato can even make its way into desserts. Try incorporating them into a fresh fruit salad or using them to top a decadent chocolate cake or tart. Their unique flavor profile adds an unexpected twist to sweet treats.

Where to find Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes?

While growing your own Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes can be immensely rewarding, these delectable fruits are also widely available in many grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Seek out locally grown or organically cultivated tomatoes for the freshest and most flavorful experience.

If you’re lucky enough to live near a farm or orchard that specializes in heirloom tomato varieties, be sure to visit during the peak of the growing season. Many of these farms offer pick-your-own options, allowing you to handpick the ripest and most vibrant Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes straight from the vine.

Conclusion

The Chocolate Cherry tomato is a true gem in the world of heirloom tomatoes. With its stunning appearance, complex flavor, and versatility in the kitchen, it’s no wonder this variety has captured the hearts of gardeners and foodies alike.

Whether you’re a seasoned tomato grower or a newcomer to the world of heirloom varieties, the Chocolate Cherry tomato is a must-try addition to your garden. So, why not give it a try and experience the delightful flavor and beauty of this unique tomato for yourself?

If you’ve had the pleasure of growing or enjoying Chocolate Cherry tomatoes, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!


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Mohsin
By Mohsin

Hi, I’m Mohsin, creator of Tomato about website. I have over a two decade of gardening experience and I love helping others growing healthy tomatoes!


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