UK garden centre grows Britain's first BLACK tomatoes (and they could help fight cancer)

A plant nursery has become the first in Britain to grow BLACK tomatoes.

The unusual fruit, which has a jet black skin, is among the first in the world to contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant thought to have a number of health benefits.

Its unusual colour stems from pigments in the skin which develop when exposed to sunlight.

Ray Brown, 66, who runs Plant World Seeds, first came across the unusual fruit when a customer sent him a mystery package entitled 'black tomato'.

Disbelieving the label, he sowed the product and was stunned by the outcome.

Mr Brown, from Newton Abbot, Devon, said: 'We are always looking for something original. Nobody has every produced black tomatoes, the closest they have got are brown ones and orange ones.

'It was always something people thought was impossible, we thought it was a hoax.

'But when we grew them we realised they were jet black, we were absolutely staggered.

'They are completely new, as far as I'm aware they have never, ever been grown in this country before.'

Mr Brown has a total of three plants, each containing 20 tomatoes which have black skins but are red on the inside.

'No one can quite believe what we've got, they keep asking if it's a joke, or if they're edible,' he said.

'They are edible, we've eaten lots, they have a nice taste and a really lovely flavour.'

The tomatoes are believed to have been developed at Oregon State University, in America, forming part of their 'Indigo Rose' project.

They are ripe when their colour changes from a shiny blue-purple to an almost jet black, with the bottoms of the tomatoes turning red.

Anthocyanins are compounds found in fruits, vegetables and beverages that some believe can help with diabetes, cancer and obesity.

The new variety is a novelty type intended for home gardens and the market.

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