If you love tomatoes, you’re probably eager to discover other foods similar to them. Are you ready to discover other fruits like tomato that you can enjoy? Then read on! We’ve put together a list of 8 different varieties you’re going to love. We’ll also answer common questions that people have on the subject.
What is the Fruit That Looks Like a Tomato But Is Not a Tomato?
The most common fruit that looks like a tomato is called a persimmon. Persimmons are small and orange in color with a stem coming out of the top that looks similar to a tomato picked off the vine.
However, these two taste nothing alike. Persimmons are less savory than tomatoes and have a honey-like flavor. In terms of the inner texture of persimmons, they can best be compared to peaches or apricots. Perhaps most unusual (and different to tomatoes), persimmons have tough skin that is comparable to granny smith apples or hard Barlett pears.
Fruits Similar to Tomatoes (Look or Taste)
These look like slightly smaller versions of tomatoes, and with good cause! They’re tomato relatives; part of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family, and amazingly tasty. You can find them in various shades of red, orange, green, and purple, and they can be eaten raw or cooked.
Use fresh, acidic green tomatillos to make a vibrant salsa verde. Alternatively, cook down darker varieties to make richly flavored sauces and stews.
Read This Next: Where to Find Tomatillos in the Grocery Store
Also called “ground cherries” or “husk cherries”, these fruits are also part of the nightshade family. This makes them cousins to tomatoes and tomatillos, as well as eggplants, and both hot and sweet peppers. These can be eaten raw, or used in various baked goods.
Just note that like other nightshade plant family members, the raw stems and leaves can be quite toxic. Some people develop a rash from handling them, and eating them can cause some pretty uncomfortable health effects. Wait until the fruits are an intense hue, and their husk-like coverings are brown and papery before harvesting.
Speaking of eggplants, these gorgeous fruits are mostly prepared in savory dishes. This is why they’re often mis-categorized as vegetables. While tomatoes can be eaten raw, eggplants (aka “aubergines“) need to be cooked before you eat them. There are several different ways to prepare them, but grilling or roasting them enhances their tomato-like flavor and texture.
If you’re an aubergine fan, you may be interested to know that smaller varieties—such as Rosa Bianca—often have sweeter flesh than larger ones. In contrast, large cultivars tend to be less flavorful, and need to be cooked longer in order to become suitably tender and delicious.
Related Article: Eggplant VS Japanese Eggplant
Ready to learn about another nightshade fruit? Meet the tasty tamarillo! This plant originated in Central and Latin America, but has been naturalized in parts oF India, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. Its duck egg-sized fruits come in a wide range of hues, but the red-orange varieties taste almost exactly like tomatoes.
If you like your tomato fruits sweet, aim for amber or orange-colored tamarillos rather than red ones. They’re less acidic, and have higher sugar content.
These fruits are also called “pepino dulce“, and are native to South America. They grow on low shrubs, and are related to both tomatoes and eggplants. Although these fruits are shaped similarly to Roma tomatoes, they’re not red. Instead, they’re sort of a creamy beige hue, with dark stripes running lengthwise down them.
Despite their different appearance, pepinos taste very similar to tomato fruits. They have a similar sweet-acidic flavor that can be enjoyed raw or cooked, and can be used in salads as well as sauces, soups, and other dishes.
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Although these tiny fruits don’t look like tomatoes, they taste very similar. Just like tomato fruits, gooseberries’ flesh is both sweet and acidic. Although they’re mostly used for desserts and other sweetened foods, you can also use them in savory dishes. Try them as ingredients in chutneys and curries, and toss a few handfuls into Moroccan or Persian stew recipes.
These glorious red-orange fruits look very similar to tomatoes, and share their sweet-acidic flavor as well. In fact, persimmon fruit flesh is even more astringent than that of tomatoes. This means that if you eat it raw, you’ll get a puckered, “dry” sensation on and around your tongue and lips.
Further Reading: What Does Persimmon Taste Like?
8. Sharon Fruits
Although these are also called Japanese persimmons, they are in fact different species. That said, they shouldn’t be eaten raw when under-ripe because of the highly astringent tannins. These fruits grow on trees that are actually related to ebony wood, and will ripen in late autumn or early winter.
Isn’t this exciting? You may not have realized that there are other fruits like tomato out there, and now you have several new varieties to explore. Try them sweet or savory, raw or cooked, and combine them too. See which flavor and texture combinations you like best, and let your culinary creativity soar!