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Pineapple tomatoes are bi-colored fruits with the species name Lycopersicon esculentum. They are grown for their outstanding flavor and usually produce an abundant crop of very large tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes usually have a flavor that is far superior to hybrid tomatoes. Pineapple tomatoes are said to be very sweet, and actually taste similar to pineapples. The meaty flesh of this variety contains very few seeds.The seeds of this heirloom variety were once sold all over the United States, but can be difficult to find as of 2011.
Pineapple tomatoes are beefsteaks, which means that they are very large and tend to have a ribbed shape. Most have a deep red or pink color, though heirloom beefsteaks like the pineapple tomato may be yellow or orange as well. They are pretty to look at, with bright yellow skin that has stripes of red. The flesh is also streaked, which makes them a colorful addition to salads and sandwiches. They are generally not grown for commercial sale, as their ribbing makes them difficult to cut or slice to a uniform size.
These types of tomatoes differ from the common hybrid varieties that represent most of the seeds and plants currently on the market. Heirloom pineapple tomatoes are open pollinated and the seeds can be saved from each crop to plant the following growing season. Seeds are often passed down from one generation to the next, like treasured family heirlooms. On the other hand, seeds that are saved from hybrid plants will not produce the same type of plant. They may not germinate at all and, if they do, the plants are usually weaker and often do not set fruit.
One disadvantage to growing heirloom pineapple tomatoes is that they tend to take longer to produce ripe fruit. They are an indeterminate variety, which means that once they do start bearing fruit, they will continue until the weather cools in late summer. This type of plant grows into a sprawling vine and, though the stems are very strong and sturdy, they will need to be staked or caged to support the branches as they become laden with heavy fruit.
Tomato plants require a great deal of direct sunlight to produce quality fruit. They also need rich soil and plenty of water and may need to be watered daily during hot, dry weather. A thick layer of mulch helps to keep the soil from drying out, and tomato plants that are mulched tend to grow faster.