One perfect tomato can elevate the flavor of a dish and leave your dinner guests firmly believing in the power of your culinary prowess. While the large, fleshy beefsteak tomatoes are usually sliced for sandwiches and burgers, and the often-canned Roma tomatoes are well suited for sauces, it’s not as easy to spot the differences between some other types of tomatoes (which may or may not be fruit). Apart from their fruit-inspired names, what separates a cherry tomato from a grape one?
According to The Kitchn, perhaps the most obvious difference is that cherry tomatoes are round, like cherries, and grape tomatoes have a more oblong shape, like (some) grapes. If you’ve ever gotten a jet stream of tomato juice right to the eye, it was probably a cherry tomato: They have thinner skins and a higher water content than grape tomatoes, so they squirt easily when you take a bite.
And you’re more likely to take a bite out of a cherry tomato—they can be about twice as big as grape tomatoes, which you can more easily pop in your mouth whole. As the larger (and more watery) of the two types, cherry tomatoes are ideal for hollowing out and stuffing, while grape tomatoes are great to toss into a salad. Of course, cherry tomatoes will also taste delicious in a salad, but you might want to cut them into halves or quarters first.
Grape tomatoes have a thicker skin and a fleshier interior, making them more durable and longer-lasting than cherry tomatoes. Because of these qualities, they’re easier to pack, store, and transport—so you probably see them in supermarkets more often than cherry tomatoes, especially in prepackaged containers.
And, if you’re in the grocery store right now trying to decide between grape or cherry tomatoes, here’s an at-a-glance recap:
Thicker skin: Grape
Longer shelf life: Grape
Better for stuffing: Cherry
Better for salads: Grape (but cherry will work too, if you cut them)
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