Tomato Report: Indigo Rose

Another tomato I got to taste on my trip up California’s central coast was the striking, nearly black “Indigo Rose”. The Indigo Rose tomato was bred conventionally by Oregon State University specifically to have high levels of antioxidants. Those antioxidants are in the tomato thanks to a class of flavonoids called anthocyanin, substances which also give the fruit its dark color.

According to Oregon State,

Indigo Rose’s genesis began in the 1960s, when two breeders – one from Bulgaria and the other from the United States – first crossed-cultivated tomatoes with wild species from Chile and the Galapagos Islands . . . Some wild tomato species have anthocyanins in their fruit, and until now, tomatoes grown in home gardens have had the beneficial pigment only in their leaves and stems, which are inedible.

The size is somewhat bigger than a cherry tomato. The inside of the tomato is a dark red. The taste? Good, even though the one I tried had not matured yet. I’m going to consider growing these next year.

You can find out more about the Indigo Rose on the Oregon State Extension Service website.

Indigo Rose seeds can be purchased through Johnny’s Select Seeds.

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13 Comments

  1. I found out about the Indigo Rose way to late for planting this year.I would love to know what you think of the flavor of a more mature fruit.

    • The fruit I tasted was nearing maturity and tasted great. The vines seemed healthy and reasonably productive. The plant was, I neglected to say, at the home of the man who runs Tomatomania. He is a professional landscape person and long time nursery employee. In short, he knows what he’s doing. Even he would admit, however, that he has good and bad years.

  2. Oooohhh…Indigo Rose! I attempted to grow these beauties this year, but have not had any success. The germination rates weren’t the best when I started them indoors and the ones that made it to the hardening off step got nibbled by some unknown creature. The one that survived has since been over taken by cukes and is struggling for light. Ugh…I still have a few seeds though and will try again next year! I am so intrigued by it’s beautiful color!

  3. Indigo Rose tomatoes are my new farm-market faves. Sweet but still tangy with a depth of flavor you’d expect in an aged balsamic, meaty but not dry — just delicious. The farmer who grew them told me that you can save seeds and have viable Indigo Rose plants in subsequent years. Be sure to let them ripen (blacken on top) for full flavor. Best wishes!

  4. I grew a few of these this year and they’re both loaded, but they are taking a long time to mature. I’m looking forward to trying them!

  5. I am growing Indigo Rose for the first time this year. I call it the world’s first “Designer Tomato.” Stick this in a bowl with some red leaf lettuce, All Blue potatoes and a nice dressing and the 1% will pay fifty bucks for it. Tomatoes are ripe when the color turns red at the bottom and the shiny purple top fades to a dull black. The tomatoes appear to store well on the plant as well. They do not overripen or spoil right away if not picked. My plant, which is in a raised bed, has reached a height of five feet and has fruited about 80 tomatoes.

  6. Those look absolutely amazing! How beautiful. I will have to give these a try next year and see how they go. They might be a nice addition to the cherry tomatoes that I grow every year since they are just a little bit larger.

  7. As we all hear, deep colored vegetables have the most nutrients, so how does that affect the nutrition of Blush? I appreciate its novelty, but in terms of nutrition is there any reason to favor it over red or darker tomatoes?

  8. We’re a stones throw from OSU (and alumnus) so we jumped at some indigo rose starts from the farmers market. None are ready for tasting yet, but the plants are putting on many lovely dark fruits. Just need to wait for the last of the green to turn purple.

  9. I am growing these for the first time this year. The bush is loaded with these tomatoes which are a beautiful purple/black. They are almost mature and can’t wait to taste them! Very easy to grow.

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