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The Great White Tomato

If, historically speaking, tomatoes aren’t your thing… you need to try this Great White tomato! Gone are the days of acidic, bitter, or watery tomatoes. This beautiful beefsteak tomato is one of the most uniquely flavorful tomatoes out there. Spoiler alert: It’s said to taste like a melon with some hints of guava! Now if that isn’t intriguing, honestly, I don’t know what is.

Read on to find out more about this plant and how you can grow your own at home to try this unicorn of a tomato for yourself!

Two white tomatoes on the vine with water droplets on them.

History of the Great White Tomato

There are rumors of the Great White tomato tracing all the way to the days of the Civil War, but they’re just that—rumors.

This tomato actually made its appearance in the 1990s. A woman sent a mixture of seeds to a seed company to run some trials on. Once those seeds were planted and grown, there was some sort of genetic mutation that led to the plants producing a white tomato. After several years of cultivating the mutated tomato, the company officially named it the Great White Tomato.

Characteristics of the Great White Tomato

The Great White tomato is an heirloom, indeterminate tomato variety, which means they will grow and continue to produce fruit throughout the growing season. The plants are incredibly hardy because they’ve got a lot of dense foliage that protects them from being scalded by the sun. The Great White tomato is a large, beefy tomato, weighing up to 2 pounds each! They are smoother than most other heirloom tomatoes, as well.

Closeup of two tomatoes turning from green to white.

Ripening Season

This variety ripens later in the season, 75-85 days after planting, but they’re well, well worth the wait.

Tomato Qualities

The Great White tomato is regularly regarded as the biggest and best of the white tomato varieties! When you find a ripe tomato, the flesh should give just a little bit under pressure. They have a very low acid content, making them very sweet. In fact, they taste a lot like a sweet melon and even have some notes of guava in there.

Tomato Size

These tomatoes are called “great” for a great reason… they’re gigantic! Each Great White tomato can grow to be up to 2 pounds. Since they have very few seeds, that is a whole lot of tomato to enjoy from just one piece of fruit!

Large white tomato half next to a whole white tomato, similar to the fruit of a Great White tomato.

Planting Zones

The Great White Tomatoes grow well in zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Because of its dense foliage, it’s a fantastic option for warmer climates because it won’t split as easily from sun scalding.

Size and Spacing

This variety of tomato plant grows to be up to 8 feet tall on a trellis and will spread up to 4 feet wide. If you’re planting them on a trellis, you can plant Great White tomatoes 2 feet apart along the trellis. If you’re letting them grow along the ground or just a cage, keep them further apart, around 3 or 4 feet, to allow for some more spreading.

Pollination

The Great White tomato is an open-pollinated white heirloom tomato. That means pollination occurs by birds, insects, winds, humans, or other natural ways. If you’d like to help it along, you gently shake the flowers to loosen pollen, or even use a finger or toothbrush to move the pollen around. It isn’t necessary to do that, but you may see a small increase in your fruit harvest.

Tomato blossoms.

Plant Care

The following sections will provide highlights about tomato care. For a complete guide on optimal tomato plant care, from planting to harvesting and storage, please check out our article on How To Grow Tomatoes: The Complete Guide For the Best Tomatoes.  You may also be interested in our blog post on how to grow big tomatoes!

Sunlight

Like most varieties of tomatoes, the Great Whites need full sun to thrive. That means they need 6-8 hours of sunlight, uninterrupted by any trees, buildings, or other plants.

Soil

Tomatoes like acidic soil, and this type is no exception. For Great White tomatoes, the temperature of the soil is also very important. The soil temperature needs to be at least 70°F before planting your Great Whites. You can start them as seeds inside with a heating pad underneath to help get the soil to that temperature to encourage germination, but they need to stay inside until the outside temperatures are at least 60°F and there are no more possibilities of frost.

Water

Great White tomatoes like their soil to be moist, but not soaking wet. Their dense foliage also needs to stay dry to deter pests and disease, so they need to be watered at the base. The easiest way to do that is with an irrigation system that waters as needed. You can always install a legitimate one or, if you’re on a budget, a milk jug poked with a lot of holes and buried next to each plant up to the top (left above ground to refill with water) will water the plants at the root as much as they need it. There’s a gardening hack for you!

Fertilizing / Feeding

Tomatoes require specific nutrients (such as calcium) to produce their best crops of fruit. To learn how to determine what your tomatoes need and when they need it, consult our ultimate tomato fertilizer guide.

Pruning/Pinching

Pruning and pinching are a tomato care technique that can help your tomato put forth its best yield. But you need to know when to do this and what tomatoes need it. To help you with this, visit our pruning tomatoes guide.

Disease

Thankfully, most heirloom tomato varieties are resistant to some tomato diseases, but they can still happen. When you see a sign of disease, it’s important to treat it right away so you can save the plant and still harvest fruit from it. To learn how to detect, treat, and take steps to prevent diseases, read our tomato diseases guide.

Pests

Great White tomatoes aren’t necessarily prone to any more or less pests than any other tomato variety. For information to help you spot, eliminate, and deter 15 different pests, visit our guide on common tomato pests.

Closeup of a tomato hornworm.
A tomato hornworm is an easy-to-spot pest.

When to Harvest Great White Tomatoes

You’ll know your cream-colored Great White tomatoes are ripe when they have a yellowish hue on the blossom end, and meaty, pale yellow flesh inside. You can test the ripeness without harvesting and cutting in to one by pressing on them gently. The flesh should give slightly under pressure when they’re ripe and ready to be enjoyed!

Common Uses For Great White Tomatoes

Because of it’s unique white flesh, this tomato variety can be used many different ways!

What Does This Tomato Taste Like?

This tomato has a very special, fruity flavor. It’s been described as juicy, sweet, and kind-of citrusy. Some people have even said it reminds them of freshly cut melon, pineapple, and guava, all at the same time.

Cooking

Great White tomatoes are a fun addition to classic tomato dishes. You can mix them with traditional red tomatoes or substitute completely. You’ll get a different flavor and color, but experimenting in the kitchen is always a fun thing to do!

Dish of assorted heirloom tomatoes, a white tomato in the middle.

Eating Raw

The Great White Tomato is ideal for slicing because of its few grooves and its low acid level.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

As it doesn’t keep or preserve well, the Great White tomato is best eaten fresh. Store them at room temperature for four to seven days. Must past that and they’ll be mushy and lose their flavor.

Recipe Ideas

Heirloom Tomato Tart

Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Heirloom Tomato Pie

Panzanella Stuff Heirloom Tomatoes

Heriloom Martini

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Tomatoes have an exceptional antioxidant content. They’re rich in lycopene, which has been found to possibly reduce the chances of developing some types of cancer. They’re also full of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and vitamin B, which could possibly help to lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Where to Buy Great White Tomato Plants or Seeds

Always check your local nurseries and farmers markets for sellers selling heirloom tomato seedlings. If you still turn up empty handed, never fear! You can buy your own Great White tomato seeds to plant on your own online at Everwilde Farms.

Where to Buy Great White Tomatoes

These beautiful tomatoes aren’t sold at regular grocery stores. You can check your farmers market, but your best bet to enjoy their unique flavors is going to be to grow your own at home.

Wrapping Up the Great White Tomato

A tomato plant with small white tomato fruit.
Young white tomatoes on the vine.

I hope by now, you see how special and unique this white beefsteak tomato is and you’ve decided to try your hand at growing them yourself. Let us know in the comments—have you tried this kind of tomato before? Does it actually taste like guava?!

For more tomato variety reading, click here for our tomato blog posts.