UK garden center grows Britain’s first black tomatoes which contains antioxidants said to have health benefits.
The unusual fruit, which has a jet black skin, is among the first in the world to contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant thought to have a number of health benefits. Ray Brown, 66, who runs Plant World Seeds, first came across the unusual fruit when a customer sent him a mystery package entitled ‘black tomato’.
The tomatoes are believed to have been developed at Oregon State University, in America, forming part of their ‘Indigo Rose’ project. They are ripe when their colour changes from a shiny blue-purple to an almost jet black, with the bottoms of the tomatoes turning red.
We’re already growing purple carrots, yellow courgettes and white asparagus.
But black tomatoes are the must-have crop for greenhouses this season, growers say.
Not only will the dark toms turn heads at the allotment society, they are also healthier than normal red varieties, according to plant scientists.
The new tomato starts out as a normal green fruit, but ripens to a jet-black colour.
On sale for the first time this year, the new ‘Indigo Rose’ was cultivated by breeding red and purple tomato plants, and is being heralded as a new superfood.
Scientists in America bred purple tomatoes contained anthocyanin, an antioxidant said to help fight diabetes and obesity, with normal red varieties.
Devon-based Sutton Seeds have secured the rights to start selling the new plants in the UK for the first time this spring.
Alfie Jackson, assistant product manager at Suttons Seeds of Paignton, Devon, said: ‘They are not as sweet as normal tomatoes and have a more savoury flavour, and are nice roasted or eaten in salads.
‘There are some dark coloured tomatoes but Indigo Rose is the only real black tomato and is the darkest that has ever been bred.