Lycopene is believed to being one of the key factors behind the healthy Mediterranean diet. So which varieties of tomato have the highest lycopene content? Suttons and the University of Exeter have been working together to find an answer.
What is Lycopene?
Lycopene is a bright red compound found naturally in many fruit and veg but especially in tomatoes. It is a powerful antioxidant with the ability to “mop up” damaging free radicals in the body. It is also believed to have a link to reduced cardiovascular disease.
We grew over 80 varieties of tomato. Next, we whittled them down to the 24 that grew well, cropped heavily and tasted great. As well as finding the healthiest varieties we also wanted to find the best ones for growing and eating at home!
Our trials showed that not all tomatoes are born equal when it comes to lycopene. The top performing varieties showed a whopping 8 times more lycopene than the lowest. We also tested some standard supermarket tomatoes and they came 23rd out of the 24 tested. So, homegrown tomatoes really are better than shop-bought.
The Top Four
The results of the test confirmed that the following four varieties are not only the best in terms of lycopene but they also crop well and taste great.
Standard – Lycostandard 3221
Perhaps the most versatile of the four this variety can be sliced in salads and sandwiches but can also be fried and cooked in a wide variety of dishes.
Cherry – Lycocherry 1247
The sweetest and most lycopene-concentrated tomato with the most intense flavour.
Plum – Lycoplum 2194
With firm structure and few seeds these tomatoes are the best for cooking in sauces and soups. Also, perfect for drying.
Beefsteak – Lycobeefsteak 0191
Ideal for slicing and eating raw but also for grilling, cooking and in juices and smoothies.
These four varieties of tomato are available to purchase separately or as a collection. Visit our website for details.