Sometimes certain plants can stump even the most seasoned gardeners, like Rina and Laide of Mountain Side Village.
Rina, Laide (pronounced Lydia) and their neighbours in the Fruitvale retirement community sent the Trail Times some photos of a new kind of fruit growing on their vines this summer.
Surely the fruit is tomatoes – but this variety is dark purple and bright green – and has never been seen by the Mountain Side green thumbs.
A search on the internet reveals the tomatoes are a new breed called an Indigo Rose tomato.
According to WestCoastSeeds.com, the Indigo Rose tomato was developed by Jim Myers at the Oregon State University using traditional plant breeding techniques. Indigo Rose tomato seeds are touted to be the first improved tomato variety in the world that has a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin in the fruit.
This new cherry-type tomato with dark purple peel hangs in clusters from vigorous sprawling vines with wild, curly leaves. The plants are hardy and have good disease resistance.
Each tomato weighs about two ounces, and has a balanced sweet-tart flavour when ripe.
The question is, “How do you know when a purple tomato is ready to eat?”
Turns out, as the fruit ripens, the front of the tomato that is exposed to light will turn the same dark purple as the skin on the top of the tomato (called the crown). When the back of the fruit, not exposed to the sun, turns a more traditional tomato colour, blush red or a dull reddish-brown, the fruit will become soft and ready to pick.
Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid, a class of compounds with antioxidant effects, which may offer anti-inflammatory and anti-viral benefits. Found naturally in a number of foods, anthocyanins are the pigments that give red, purple, and blue plants their rich coloring.
According to VeryWellHealth.com, in herbal medicine, anthocyanin-rich substances have long been used to treat a number of conditions involving blood vessel health, including chronic venous insufficiency, high blood pressure, and diabetic retinopathy. They have also been used to treat a number of other conditions, including colds and urinary tract infections. Recent research also suggests that anthocyanins may help fend off major health problems, such as heart disease and cancer.