Sensory evaluation of red and yellow grape tomato varieties

Eric Simonne, Reva Datar, Amy Simonne, Robert Hochmuth, Aparna Gazula


Grape tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicon L. var. cerasiform) have recently gained popularity because they are convenient to eat, sweet and flavorful, and are a recognized as a good source of vitamins C, and A, and lycopene. Because of the limited seed availability of the standard variety ‘Santa’, the objective of this study was to identify suitable replacement varieties for three segments of the grape tomato industry. The first taste test included commercial red varieties (‘Sugary’, ‘Red Grape’, ‘St. Nick’, ‘Santa’, ‘Sweet Olive’, and ‘Tami G’), the second one included red varieties suitable for small farm production (‘Cupid’, ‘Sugary’, ‘Sweet Hearts’, ‘Jelly Bean’, ‘Jolly Elf’, and ‘Santa’), and the third one included yellow varieties (‘Gold Nugget’, ‘Golden Sweet’, ‘Honey Bunch’, and ‘Sun Gold’). All varieties but ‘Santa’ were grown at the North Florida Research and Education Center–Suwannee Valley. A 33-member panel rated the varieties for sweetness, acidity, flavor, and overall preference on a 90-mm unstructured line. Significant differences were found for most attributes, but variability was high (CV ranging from 47% to 61%). Based on an overall rank sum index, ‘Red Grape’, ‘Sugary’ and ‘Cupid’, and ‘Sun Gold’ were rated highest varieties in each category. Surprisingly, the store-bought ‘Santa’ was among the least preferred red varieties. Together with consumer preference, factors such as market needs, seed availability, growth habit, and disease resistance/tolerance should also be considered when selecting a grape tomato variety.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283