If you've ever bought tomatoes from a roadside stand, there is a good chance the variety was Jet Star.
It is by far the most popular tomato at curbside markets because it is so easy to grow, has a sweet flavor, and is uniformly red. Quite simply, this tomato looks and tastes like a tomato should.
Even as a hybrid tomato, it is unique for several reasons.
Disease resistance. This tomato variety has become a staple in the home garden because it is disease-resistant, crack-resistant, and scar resistant. Both plants and the fruit endure throughout a long indeterminate season and still look good. Fruit is a bright, universal tomato-red color both inside and out.
Yield. The variety has a reputation for being overwhelmingly prolific whether grown on the ground, staked, or caged. Its yields are strong throughout the season. Plus, these tomatoes are versatile. Plants produce in a wide variety of climates. They are both heat-tolerant and can tolerate colder climates.
Flavor. Aficionados regular name this tomato variety as a favorite, citing it as “low acid.” In reality, acid levels in tomatoes remain fairly consistent across varieties. What makes the difference (when it comes to taste) is that Jet Stars have a higher sugar content than other tomatoes, which masks the acid.
This variety was bred by Harris Seeds, a family-owned seed business founded in 1879 and based in Rochester, NY. Harris Seeds is known for its quality standards. It was the first American seed company to test for good germination rates and print the results on packets for the consumer.
Developed in 1968 and introduced in 1969 (about the same time as the Moreton Hybrid and the Supersonic Hybrid), the tomato has remained one of Harris Seeds’ top sellers. It is grown both commercially and in the home garden. The University of Maine Food Lab also rated it the top greenhouse tomato. Because the tomato seed business is very competitive, the hybrid’s tomato parentage is carefully guarded.
In addition to being an excellent slicing tomato, Jet Stars are a favorite choice for canning.
USDA guidelines recommend adding lemon juice or citric acid when canning tomatoes as a matter of safety. A good rule to follow is 1-2 teaspoons per quart.
|Jet Star Tomato|
|Origin: Harris Seeds, USA|
|Days to maturity: 72 days|
|Foliage/habit: Regular leaf|
|Fruit color: red|
|Fruit shape/size: globe, 8-16 ounces|
|Resistance: Verticillium Wilt (V), Fusarium Wilt (F)|
|Taste: mild, low-acid|
|Other notes: crack resistant, few blemishes|
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Understanding Tomato Varieties
By Kathy Widenhouse, award-winning writer and owner of Tomato Dirt, a leading online source for growing tomatoes and using them.
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