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Kumatoes 101

By Cook's Illustrated Published May 2011

What are Kumatoes?

The Kumato, a tomato variety with a startling brownish green color, was introduced to the U.S. market two years ago and is available year-round, imported from Europe. Its unusual appearance has created speculation that the Kumato is a genetically modified fruit, but it is actually the product of natural crossbreeding among several varieties, including some wild Mediterranean specimens.

We compared Kumatoes with standard supermarket vine-ripened tomatoes, sampling them plain and in cooked tomato sauce and raw salsa. In all cases, tasters found the Kumatoes sweeter than the ordinary tomatoes, which made sense: The Kumato was bred to have a higher fructose content than traditional vine-ripened tomatoes. Tasters also preferred the Kumato for its dense, meaty texture; the vine-ripened tomato was described as comparatively mealy and watery.

The bottom line: The Kumato may not be a match for a locally grown, late-summer farm stand beauty, but if you’re buying fresh tomatoes out of season, it’s a far better bet than the ordinary supermarket offerings.

KUMATOESPurchased out of season, brownish green Kumatoes offer a sweeter flavor and meatier texture than ordinary vine-ripened supermarket tomatoes.