If you have ever been to a farmer’s market you probably saw produce in an array of colors and shapes. If you were lucky, you might have stumbled upon White Beauty tomatoes. This is an uncommon variety of heirloom tomato, but one well worth finding. It really is almost white and has firm flesh and a high sugar content with a touch of acidity for the perfect flavor balance.
About White Beauty Tomatoes
Heirloom tomato plants are experiencing a resurgence, with many varieties once thought lost coming back into production through the careful saving of seed by conscientious gardeners. These thoughtful gardeners have likely saved those seeds for generations, passing a favorite tomato down like a precious gem. This is what happened to White Beauty tomato, which was grown as far back as 1850.
White Beauty tomatoes were once the belle of the ball with a popular seed company of the time, Isabell’s, calling them the best white tomato variety the company had ever grown. White Beauty is a prolific producer with a flattened globe shape and creamy yellowish ivory skin. The flesh is dense, white and has a complex flavor with notes of citrus. The firm flesh has hardly any seeds, making it excellent for slicing or for sauce. Each fruit rings in at 6 to 8 ounces (170-227 g.). The plant is indeterminate and open pollinated in the beefsteak category.
White Beauty Tomato History
Among the many heirloom tomato plants, White Beauty stands out due to its excellent flavor. It was bred in the mid-1800s as a white tomato that would actually have some punch and not be mealy, simply sweet, and slightly bland like its kindred. The flavor holds its own with the tastiest red tomatoes, but the creamy flesh makes it a stand out, especially in the garden.
It is not certain who first developed the tomato, but it was widely grown in the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. Then suddenly it all but disappeared. This is a common tale among heirloom fruits and vegetables. Eventually, through a seed exchange, a frugal gardener shared seeds saved for decades and the variety was once again available.
Growing White Beauty Tomatoes
From seed to harvest, White Beauty takes about 85 days. In most zones, start seed indoors, 8 weeks prior to the date of the last frost. Keep soil moderately moist, warm and in medium light. Transplant after hardening off seedlings for a week, once soil has warmed.
Before transplant, work soil well and deeply, incorporating plenty of well-rotted organic matter. Guard seedling transplants from cutworms and numerous other pests. Keep competitive weeds away from the root zones.
As an indeterminate variety, White Beauty will need a tomato cage or other support as it grows. These fruits can be difficult to determine harvest time. Pick them once fruit is firm and weighty, and skin is responsive to a gentle push but does not give.