Skinning a Russian

CIMG2146These are the ‘Black Russian’ tomatoes I have been trialling for Which? Gardening, and unlike a typical tomato which will clearly change from green to red when ripe I was unsure when to pick these, although the picture on the packet showed a dirty red colour. Most of the trusses are still distinctly green, but these have suddenly taken on a bit of a blush. Two larger tomatoes in a different truss have begun to go mouldy, as their bulging skins have been rubbing against each other, no doubt sweating a little in the heat of the summer. I didn’t want these to go the same way and as you can see one has begun to split, so they were picked today. The larger mouldy ones weighed around 8oz each, but these two were a little over 4oz. Now for the taste test:

CIMG2149Hmm…. quite watery, but fleshy too; a slight tang and a gently sweet aftertaste. It has certainly been interesting to grow with a good germination rate, nice sturdy plants and some unusual compound flowers, but would I grow it again and buy the seeds myself (although I could of course keep seeds from these)? They would probably be better used where their size is important or useful, such as grilled or in a sauce or in chutney. Now that’s a thought…. if I use 2lbs of tomatoes at a time for my tomato chutney (and 6 batches of this quantity to see me through the year), just think how much quicker it would be to skin 4 Black Russians than a heap of Gardeners’ Delight!

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13 Responses to Skinning a Russian

  1. Looks delish! Have you ever tried Black Krim tomatoes? MMmmmmm….

  2. Annette says:

    Is this a beef tomatoe? You don’t sound very enthusiastic, Cathy, and I’ve also decided not to grow Ande and Black Krim again next year but I guess it’s a matter of taste.

    • Cathy says:

      Not sure if you would call it a beef tomato as Which? gardening did not give any background information and I have never (shame on me?) consciously eaten a beef tomato – they are biggish, certainly. I was trying to be objective in my comments as this is info I will record when I feedback on the experience. I do like the idea of growing big ones specially for my chutney though – do you have any recommendations for big and tasty tomatoes?

  3. Anna B says:

    Hi Cathy! This is such a cool review. I’ve also grown this variety this year and actually wish I hadn’t. They’re difficult to water, either bursting open or going completely gooey, some are tough, some are an odd shape altogether and some are just weird! Never again!!

    • Cathy says:

      They all seem to be an odd shape, which I don’t mind, but I am wondering after reading the other Anna’s comment if I should pick them when they are smaller although it’s hard to know when they are ripe!

  4. Anna says:

    Interesting to hear some diverse comments on this tomato Cathy. My allotment plot neighbours gave me a couple of their ‘Black Russian’ tomatoes last week and they were absolutely delicious especially the smaller one of the two.

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Anna – it’s intriguing what you say and I shall make a point of picking some when they are smaller. I keep thinking they are Russian Giant (is that a sunflower?) rather than Black Russian so expect them to be big, and the colour doesn’t help me know when they are ripe either 😉

  5. I grow Black Krim too and really like it. I think it has a bit more flavour than Black Russian although it is a similar size and shape. Really useful review, thank you.

    • Cathy says:

      Oops – retrieved this from spam! Having decided a ‘big’ tomato is a good idea for my chutney I might look out for this for next year after all these positive comments. Thanks for sharing my rambles

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