Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cherokee Purple Tomato

Every year we plant a variety of tomatoes. In the past i have not paid that much attention to what we planted. i bought the most common varieties, Big boy, Beefsteak and Romas. This year i made a point of planting only Heirloom varieties and actually writing down what i planted so that i would remember when i began harvesting.

The first to ripen this year have been the Cherokee Purples. This is my first time growing them, and they have quickly become my favorite slicing tomato! Besides the unusual deep dusky red/deep purple hue of it's fruit, Cherokee Purples are extremely sweet and have an unbeatable tomato flavor.

Cherokee Purple tomatoes are beefsteak in style, with green "shoulders" across the top. They are known for having a dense, juicy texture, with small seed pockets irregularly scattered throughout the flesh. The darker interior color is enhanced by the seeds which are surrounded by green gel. A truly beautiful tomato!!
The fruits average 10-12oz, and the plants produce dense foliage. They are easy to grow and relatively disease resistant. A great choice for those new to growing heirlooms.

The Cherokee Purple is reported to have been grown by the Cherokee Indians, and is dated back as far as the late 1800s. It really has an interesting history and only became available in seed catalogs in the early 1990's. You can read more about it's history on Wikipedia.

You can find seeds for the Cherokee Purples at Southern Seed Exchange.

The Cherokee purples make the best tomato sandwiches ever. i really can not say enough about the wonderful flavor of these tomatoes. i've looked around for info on canning these, and although many people do...i don't think they are ideal for canning. Cherokee purples are best eaten fresh. We've been enjoying them on salads, sandwiches, topping bruchetta, tossed with pasta and eaten alone.
Last year Brandywines were my favorites. This year i planted black, yellow and red Brandywines so i'm eager for them to ripen to i can compare the flavors. Right now though, i am very much enjoying my Cherokee Purples. i will most definitely be growing these again next year!


  1. They look wonderful Tree. Next year I hope I'll have some yummy tomatoes myself.


  2. Yum, I love these! They are perfect for filling out a sandwich.

  3. I am finally give the Cherokee Purple tomatoes a try this year. Your review and especially the photo above were enough to convince me. What type of cheese is on your sandwich? It looks tasty! :) -eric

    1. i believe it was muenster and the sandwich was awesome! :)

  4. Thanks, Tree! I thought it might be muenster, yum! I've been craving a sandwich just like this one from the first time I saw your post several months ago. My Cherokee seedlings are looking great. A little larger and they'll be ready to go into the ground which is already tilled and waiting. BTW, I am pinning this to my Pinterest board, in case you notice a huge spike in traffic. -er