Pear tomatoes can refer to a number of different cultivars of tomatoes, usually cherry sized or just slightly larger. They can come in a variety of colors, with yellow and red ones being the most common. The name is not hard to understand since most of these tomatoes have a distinctive pear shape, a round shapely bottom, with a thinner top portion.
Some varieties of pear tomatoes are exceptionally sweet, and many are great performers even when grown in pots. They may continue to produce fruit from May through October, especially if you live in milder climates. They also may be grown strictly for their ornamental value, though many who are fans of pear tomatoes suggest you miss the point completely if you don’t eat these typically sweet fruits.
Most pear tomatoes are considered heirloom varieties of tomatoes. Heirloom can mean a few things — most often it means that the plants are open pollinated, or left to naturally pollinate by birds, bees, and other types of insects. You can also hand pollinate, but it’s usually unnecessary. If you do plan to open pollinate these pretty tomatoes, you might want to have at least two plants so that you get predictable results and the pear shapes you desire.
You can use pear tomatoes in a variety of ways. They’re perfect served whole in salads, or sliced in half, though many are small enough that this is unnecessary. Many people who grew up in rural regions recall these types of tomatoes being canned whole by grandparents or great grandparents. This meant fresh tasting tomatoes would be available year round.
Although typically people think of pear tomatoes as small bite-sized fruits, there is one variety that is approximately palm-sized. It bears the name of the black pear tomato and only has a slightly oval shape, and is deep red with slight green striping at the top. Some contend the black pear tomato is one of the most delicious heirloom types you can find, but many prefer the smaller yellow, orange and red ones that are so aesthetically pleasing and also bursting with flavor.
You’ll find numerous varieties of pear tomatoes for growing. If you’re not great at gardening, you may want to use starts (small plants) for your first growing attempts. Even a small outdoor space with plenty of sunshine will do for most pear tomato types; just don’t forget to water every couple of days. If you’re striving for complementary colors in your plantings, growing small peppers in a variety of colors can produce a lovely effect. Growing peppers around the tomatoes may help, since this may help fend off some bugs.
For those who lack growing expertise or space, look for vine ripened, arguably the best tasting ripening method, in your local grocery store. They’re usually available from May onward. You may be able to get these tomatoes year round if you can find those grown hydroponically or imported from other countries.