What do currant tomatoes taste like? And what to consider when planting and caring for them? Here is everything you need to know about this bite-sized tomato variety.
Currant tomatoes have been a favourite variety in home gardens and on balconies for years. Below is our in-depth guide to this tiny but mighty variety.
Currant tomato: profile
|Cocktail tomato; red or yellow
|Sweet and sour, yet spicy
|Wild tomato; up to 150cm in height
|Greenhouse, outdoors, in containers
Origin and history of the currant tomato
The currant tomato (Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium) is a direct descendant of the wild tomatoes of Peru and Ecuador and is only distantly related to the cultivated tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). Currant tomatoes were bred for flavour and not for large fruit like most other varieties, though some currant varieties have undergone slight changes through breeding. Wild tomatoes and currant tomatoes have many common traits, like their abundance of fruit as well as their densely branched, bushy growth.
Currant tomato taste and characteristics
Currant tomato plants grow to be about 1.5 meters high and one meter wide. They have delicate, feathered leaves and around mid-July begin to produce an abundance of small, round fruits. Currant tomatoes grow up to one centimeter in diameter and contain many seeds. Currant tomatoes are sweet and sour in taste with a hint of spiciness.
You can harvest and save currant tomato seeds to grow new plants in the following year. However, this variety can also be found growing wild in the garden. For example, if a currant tomato lands in a compost pile, often many small currant tomato plants will pop up the following spring. This shows how easy it is to propagate currant tomatoes.
The best currant tomato varieties
As mentioned above, currant tomatoes come in two colours: red or yellow. Here are some of the best currant varieties!
Red currant tomatoes
The ‘Red Currant’ tomato is a classic among tiny tomato varieties. Its fruits weigh about three grams and ripen very early in the season. Even smaller varieties of red currant tomato include the ‘Hawaiian’ currant tomato, ‘Sweet Pea’ currant tomato and the slight but flavourful ‘Spoon’ tomato.
Yellow currant tomatoes
The ‘Golden Currant’ grows just as abundantly as red currant tomato varieties. From mid-July onward, the yellow currant plant will begin to produce a bounty of sunny and sweet fruits. Golden currant tomato plants are low-maintenance and easy to care for but do need plenty space to accommodate their wide growth. Another yellow currant tomato variety, ‘Gold Rush’, is characterised by its long vines that bear countless small orange tomatoes. In Autumn, gold rush tomato plants ripen well in a sunny spot, like on a warm windowsill.
All of the above-mentioned varieties are robust and resistant to diseases, like blight, which makes ideal for growing outdoors too.
How to grow currant tomatoes
Currant tomatoes are very adaptable to different locations and grow well in a greenhouse, on a balcony, or even outdoors. The currant tomato’s compact size makes it ideal for tubs or hanging baskets. The wild tomato is extremely vigorous and does not need to be pruned, as they will bear fruit on all side shoots. For hanging baskets and pots, soil selection is key to keep currant tomato plants healthy and productive. When planting, try using a specially adapted tomato soil – such as our Plantura Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, which will give the tomato plant a good start to the summer and encourage flowering.
- Perfect for tomatoes & other vegetables such as chillies, courgettes & more
- For strong & healthy plant growth as well as an abundant vegetable harvest
- Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition
Whether in a hanging basket or pot, currant tomato plants will quickly take up a lot of space and begin to form fruit. Once the plant begins flowering, its nutrient needs increase sharply. Liquid fertilisers, like our Plantura Liquid Tomato Food, help supply the plant with all the essential nutrients for fruit development.
Harvesting and using currant tomatoes
Currant tomatoes are delicious eaten straight from the plant. But these tiny tomatoes work just as well in salads and can be preserved by drying as well. To preserve currant tomatoes, cut the small fruits in half and dry them in the oven at a low heat. This way, you can enjoy the tasty tomatoes even in winter.
Would you like to grow currant tomatoes or other tasty varieties on your balcony? Here are tips and tricks on how to grow tomatoes on a balcony.