Black Plum Heirloom Tomatoes
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Black Plum tomatoes have an elongated egg-like shape similar to roma tomatoes, though they have slightly thinner walls. They grow to about three inches long and have strong, crack-resistant, mahogany-brown skin with a touch of green at the stem. Their meaty flesh has few seeds, high sugar and acid levels, and low moisture content compared to other tomato varieties, ideal for cooking down into a tomato sauce or paste, and they offer a tasty tangy-sweet flavor. The indeterminate disease-resistant plants grow to an average of four to six feet, continuing to produce high yields of the little fruit throughout the season along sprawling vines.
Black Plum tomatoes are available in the summer months.
Black Plum tomatoes, sometimes called Russian black tomatoes, are a member of the Solanaceae family along with the potato, eggplant and tobacco. Tomatoes, originally termed Solanum lycopersicum, are botanically referred to as Lycopersicon esculentum, although modern studies are encouraging a return to the original classification. “Plum” is a classification of tomatoes also commonly known as a roma, paste, pear, processing, saladette or sauce type tomato, characterized by meatier and less juicy flesh than other tomato types.
Tomatoes are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, notably lycopene, which may lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, which is important for healthy eyes, skin, bones and teeth. Tomatoes also contain vitamin B and potassium, making them effective in reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure.
Black Plum tomatoes have a rich, smoky-sweet flavor and low moisture content, ideal for making tomato sauce, however they are juicy enough to be eaten fresh. Simply drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper, or layer slices of Black Plum with basil and mozzarella for a fresh Caprese salad. Black plum is so sweet and meaty that some people actually prefer it to roma tomatoes for making sauces. With its tangy-sweetness and creamy flesh, it not only makes a well-balanced sauce or paste, but is also becoming a favorite tomato for canning. Store tomatoes at room temperature away from direct sunlight until ripe, after which refrigeration can slow the process of decay.
The original Russian name for the Black Plum tomato is not known, however this cultivar is very similar to several Russian varieties such as De Barao Black and Black Mavr.
Black Plum tomatoes are a Russian heirloom variety, said to have been acquired by Seed Savers Exchange in the early 1990s from Marina Danilenko of Moscow, Russia and introduced in the United States circa 1994. Black Plum is a fairly hardy cultivar and will produce in cooler temperatures as well as in hot, dry climates. Hence Black Plum will grow well in most regions of the United States.