SHOP BY DEPARTMENT
Houzz Logo Print
mindyw3

Horrible Tomatoe, CHerokee Purple?

Mindyw3
11 years ago

I bought a tomato at whole foods that I thought was cherokee purple. After reading all the reviews of this tomatoe I was expecting it to be really great, sweet, interesting, complex. Instead I got a tomato that literally burned my hands while I was slicing it and tasted like tomato flavored mud on my zucchini pizza. Not even a hint of sweetness, a little bitterness, a strong "tomatoe" flavor, and extreme acidity. SO I took this off my grow list for next year but I'm wondering if it could have possibly been some other tomatoe that looks very similar. But, sadly, I'm quite certain it was a cherokee purple. Any thoughts?

Also, any sggestions? I prefer sweet, very sweet sugary tomatoes.

Comments (44)

  • carolyn137
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    That doesn't sound like Cherokee Purple to me.

    Why don't you grow it yourself to see what it really should taste like.

    Mindy, I don't know where you are in your 4-5ish growing area but I can tell you that in mine almost all of the tomato varieties I'm growing this year don't taste as they should and I know b'c I'm growing some that I've grown before.

    So if it was indeed labelled as a Cherokee Purple fruit and was grown locally I could understand why it didn't taste right, but burning your hand and tasting like mud is far from what Cherokee Purple is all about.

    Carolyn

  • yumtomatoes
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    How can a tomato burn your hands? The only fruit to ever burn my hands was a chili pepper - jalapenos and serranos. Chili peppers produce a substance called capsaicin which stimulates the nerves in your skin that sense temperature.

    Tomatoes don't produce capsaicin so if a tomato burned your hand, either it had just come out of the oven and it was hot or somehow some capsaicin from a chili pepper got on the tomato. Did you handle chili peppers at the store before you picked up your tomatoes? If not, one of the store workers may have before they put the tomato on display.

    Otherwise I don't see how a tomato could burn your hands.

  • Related Discussions

    WANTED: Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomatoes

    Q

    Comments (2)
    Hi KatJaqu! Would be glad to trade some of my Cherokee Purple Tomato seed for some of your Blue Miniature Corn seed. Please send me your mailing address in an email and I will send you the seed and a return address label. Thanks in advance for the trade!
    ...See More

    Help! What's wrong with my Cherokee Purple tomatoes (pictures)?

    Q

    Comments (7)
    You aren't doing anything wrong and it isn't a disease. Your pics are small and I can't enlarge them at all but IMO it is most likely some sort of pest damage that has scarred over combined with catfacing. Birds will peck them, squirrels take bites out and leave the rest, so do turtles if they can reach them. Then there are tomato worms, army worms, etc. that can munch on the outside but may not enter the fruit. Insect damage, poor pollination, and environmental factors all cause catfacing, the puckering, scarring, and deformation of tomatoes. Sometimes this scarring extends deep into the fruit cavity, sometimes not. The most common cause of catfacing is exposure to temperatures below 50 degrees during flowering and fruit set but others factors can contribute too and some varieties are a bit more prone to it than others. Just Google 'catfacing tomatoes' for lots of photos and details on it. Dave
    ...See More

    Deformed Cherokee purple tomatoes

    Q

    Comments (5)
    Fruits fusing to each other is actually fairly common and seems to be tied to the cooler air temps at pollination time. Sometimes careful examination of the blooms early on will show that 2-3 blooms are fused - a so-called mega bloom - and they result in the fused fruit appearance. It isn't limited to any one variety. There are other possible contributing factors but the fruit is still edible and is usually only found with the early fruits of the season. Later season production is usually fine. Dave
    ...See More

    Cherokee Purple vs Black Krim tomato

    Q

    Comments (4)
    I slightly prefer BK over CP because they seem to have a little less concentric cracking but I haven't grown either for a few years. I prefer several of the various pink slicers over any of the black/purple varieties these days. Rebel Yell, Pruden's Purple, German Johnson, Brandywine Suddeth strain, and Girl Girl's Weird Thing (bi-color) were all standouts in my garden this year but KBX (Kellogg's Breakfast potato leaf- an orange) took 'best in show'. Keeping ability is one of the characteristics I look for in a slicer and many of the blacks don't hold up well in that regard. Carbon is probably the best tasting black that I've grown and it keeps better than most. It's not terribly productive but it's early to ripen. Indian Stripe is also a good one.
    ...See More
  • Mindyw3
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Yumtomatoes. It was highly acidic and burned around my cuticles....even after I washed them a number of times.

  • natal
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    That's the most bizarre thing I've ever heard. I've also never heard someone describe a tomato as bitter unless it's a fried green.

  • yumtomatoes
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    hmmm, strange indeed. When I have a cut on my fingers, lemon juice, which is around pH 2.5, stings if it gets in the cut, but tomatoes have a much higher pH than that, around 4 and even a bit higher depending on the variety. 2.5 and 4 may not seem that far off, but pH is a logarithmic scale so they are quite far apart.

  • Mindyw3
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Yumtomatoes. It was highly acidic and burned around my cuticles....even after I washed them a number of times.

  • californian
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Over my lifetime I have grown probably about 60 different varieties of tomatoes, and I would rate Cherokee Purple, especially the ones I grew this year, in the top five as far as taste goes. They are also productive and resist sun scald.

    Its sister tomato, Cherokee Green, is also a taste test winner in my book, but gets over-ripe quickly and the inside liquifies, so it is best picked and used just before fully vine ripened.

  • helenh
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    You can't really judge a variety of tomatoes by eating one tomato especially if you aren't 100% sure you were given the correct name at the Farmer's Market. Some people can't get over the different color. Also the tops never do ripen; if you wait until the top is ripe the tomato is over ripe.

  • springlift34
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I have always heard tomatoes love the South. Especially the Cherokee Purple. Truly does well,especially the overall vigor of the foliage. Slow to grow,slow to go away in heat, and as adaptable as can be with humidity.

    This is a great tomato,but the further North you go from the equator, the further you are from its home. Just one of those tomatoes. Loves the heat.

    Have you not heard of the burning potential of the Cherokee? They will burn you with new ways to look at the tomato plant. I'm sorry, but this is one of my favorite plants so far, and although not the most productive in general versus a beast like a Better Boy or Celebrity, I like growing them based on their size,color,and length of harvest.

    Keep in mind though, over the last couple years I have only grown around 500 or so plants,and maybe 20-30 varieties.(give or take)

    Take care,
    Travis

  • mariev_seattle
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm in Seattle, and this is the first year I grew tomatoes, including several heirlooms. I grew Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Black Prince, and Jaune Flamme, and by far, the Cherokee Purple had the richest flavor of all the black/purple tomatoes I grew. We had an unusually cool spring and summer (very few days above 80 degrees until the end of August/beginning of Sept.), and I still got about a dozen 3-4" tomatoes with amazing flavor. I probably would have gotten many more if I hadn't pruned to a single stem, but I was staking the plants and afraid of them getting diseases. Next year, I'll probably prune to 3-4 stems, so I'll get more tomatoes.

    Here's a picture of three of my Cherokee Purples.
    {{gwi:1086012}}

  • compostmonkey
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Cherokee Purple has been an inconsistent tomato for me. It's been luscious and full-bodied in flavor and also flat and insipid. Since I used the same seed stock both years, I can only speculate that its taste is influenced by the weather.

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    No accounting for taste. My sister doesn't like Black Krim. I think she can't get past the look, especially since she informed me that she likes her tomatoes "big and red." But tasting like mud and burning your hands doesn't sound like the Cherokee Purple I grew last year.

  • msgenie516
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi,

    I'm only planting 2 tomatoes this year (have a lot of things going on that will prevent me from working in the garden too much) and one of them is going to be Cherokee Purple (don't know yet what the other will be, maybe Brandywine). I have found them to be among the sweetest, with just enough acid to balance the flavor. I planted one last year and after tasting the tomatoes, saved them all for BLT's. Boy, we had a lot of BLT's. They were delicious and I have a feeling you may have gotten a different tomato.

    Good luck! Genie

  • Moorlord
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Maybe it was a moldy pepper. That would explain the color, taste and burning you got. ;)

  • edweather USDA 9a, HZ 9, Sunset 28
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Agree, Cherokee Purples are always on my grow list.

  • lucillle
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I agree with some of the others that it is time to think outside the box. If Cherokee Purple is normally not acidic, then perhaps the irritable substance arose elsewhere. Was the tomato doctored? Was it shipped or packed with peppers? Was the kitchen counter cleaned and with remnants of cleaning chemicals?
    The OP on the one hand wonders if it was a ringer, but on the same hand affirms her certainty of identity.
    A fascinating and mysterious happening, but since the rep of CP seems so positive, I'd get one from another source and have a bite before writing it off.

  • 2ajsmama
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I don't know about the burning sensation either, but maybe the "purple" tomato was something else - like the (to my eyes) brown Kumato? I didn't care for the taste of those when I bought some in the store, but then all grocery-store tomatoes taste like mud to me ;-)

    CP and BK did well up here last year in the heat/drought, I only had 1 CP plant (other was mislabeled) so didn't have as many as BK. Have more (started myself) this year. Though I have grown CP and Sudduth the same year(s) and have not found either to be bland, whether the weather was hot and dry or cooler and wet. The exception was 2011, which was so cold and wet that the only tomatoes I got were Glaciers and they soon got all sorts of bacterial diseases. The whole garden was a disaster that year (and it happened to be my first year of "farming" - spot at market - rather than "gardening").

  • fcivish
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I found at least some store bought Kumato's to be amazing. On the other hand, I can agree that Cherokee Purple, even when grown in my garden, is sometimes inconsistent and variable in flavor. But always large, and always at least a very good tomato to me. Still, IT IS NOT ONE OF MY FAVORITES. Why? Because I find it's co-gener, Cherokee Chocolate to be TRULY INCREDIBLE, and consistently awesome in taste, IF picked before they get TOO ripe. Too ripe is often a cause for degradation of tomato flavor in many cases. So one of the keys is to pick tomatoes at the proper point. In many cases this is just as they are getting ripe, but not before they get too ripe. Ripe or "Vine-Ripe" in the commercial industry means picked green,"Because we decided it was 'ripe enough' to ship." It is quite likely that your Cherokee Purple from the store was picked way too green, and then allowed to over-ripen in the store.

    Also, chilling any tomato below about 55 degrees (and most tomatoes are shipped cooler than that) is almost always a flavor killer. Try it with your own tomatoes. Take some and put on your counter and put some in your fridge. Next day take them out and see which ones taste better. Now imagine doing that along with all the other garbage they do to store-bought tomatoes.

  • spicymeatball
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    You will never get a good tomato at a supermarket, even if it's whole foods.

  • sjetski
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'd say that poster fcivish nailed the answer a couple of posts up.

    As for burning hands, everyone's tolerances are different, and raw cuticles are sensitive to begin with, this should not be a cause for wonder.

  • Deeby
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    How about this? Tomatoes and even ketchup burn my hands but not my mouth.
    Oranges burn my mouth but not my hands.

  • hudson___wy
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    CP is simply awesome! I am going to try Cherokee Chocolate next season though (based on fcivish's comments) - it is hard for me to imagine that it can be an improvement when compared to Cherokee Purple - but that kind of thinking kept me from trying CP for several years because it didn't look appetizing to me - was I ever wrong!

  • seysonn
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Whole Foods, Trader joe's or any other store won't tell you the variety names other than marking HEIRLOOM. I bought one of those few weeks ago. I liked the taste and I thought it is CP. It was just like CP. So I saved seeds from it.

    There are many different varieties of the so-called BLACK or PURPLE tomatoes. I have grown both CP and Black Krim. They have similar taste. The texture is very paste like soft , not juicy, not acidic and not very sweet eithe. Just a special taste unlike beefsteaks.

  • carolyn137
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Cherokee Chocolate is the same as Cherokee Purple except the former has a yellow epidermis instead of the clear epidermis that CP has, so CC is just darker in color.

    THe word purple was used starting in the late 1800's to describe what we know as pink fruits. So varieties such as Aunt Ginny's Purple, Prudens Purple, Eva Purple Ball, etc, all have pink fruits

    There are very few varieties that actually have some purple on the exterior and some of them might include:

    Purple Smudge ( red fleshed)
    Orange fleshed Purple Smudge
    Purple Calabash
    Noir des Cosebeauf.

    And I'm not including the many varieties that have been bred from P20 from Dr. Myers lab, that led to so many new varieties that have dark colored fruits.

    For those who don't like Cherokee Purple, why not try a version of it called Indian Stripe which many folks now prefer to CP.

    Carolyn

    Here is a link that might be useful: Indian Stripe

  • seysonn
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    From the description, I like the INDIAN STRIPE., for its look, color and size. Of course for flavor too.

  • hudson___wy
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Carolyn,
    What is your background / education? You seem to have an endless knowledge ! Nice to have someone like you participating on the forum!!

    So Carolyn - if I understand you right - I do not need to plant both a Cherokee Chocolate and Cherokee Purple (for flavor) because they will taste the same - the only difference being their appearance?? But Indian Stripe will have a different taste than CP/CC even though they are a version of CP?

    Just wanted your opinion because I love the CP but don't want to waste time and space on a CC if they are identical (although that puzzles me with fcivish's comments)? I would rather give the space to Indian Stripe based on your comments - I assume you have planted and tasted all three - CC, CP & IS ?

    What is your all time favorite slicing tomato?

  • carolyn137
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hudson, I don't have the time to answer you now, but promise to get back to you re your questions eventually.

    Just too much on my plate to handle right now. ( smile)

    Carolyn

  • hudson___wy
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    OK - No problem Carolyn
    Thanks! Hudson

  • carolyn137
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Right, You don't need to plant both CP and CC b/c they are the same except for the epidermis color, Craig LeHoullier was the one who received seeds for CP, and named it, from John Green of TN. Craig has been a friend since 1989, we met through SSE Yearbooks, and I was one of the first to grow both CP as well as CC,,both are in my tomato book, as well as Cherokee Green ( too late to get in book), which is still my fave GWRipe and I've grown many of that kind,

    It's not clear to me why Fcivish would prefer CC to CP, for all the reasons above.

    The only way you'll know about the taste of IS is to grow both IS and CP in the same season so all the variables are the same,

    My background/education? If you go to my page here you'll see quite a bit of it already,

    Raised on what we call a truck farm here in the East with many acres of tomatoes,squash,peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, you name it, we grew it. Was sitting on the seat atop the water reservoir of the planter when I was about 5 yo and with each year I was given more responsibility. So I've been up close and personal with various crops for a good long time, being 74 now..

    Education?

    Cornell, BS degree in 1961
    U of Rochester Medical School,MS and then Ph.D in1968
    Spent most of my life teaching med students infectious diseases and the immune responce in Rochester and then also at the U of Colorado Med School in Denver.

    Moved back East to take care of my aging pafrents in 1982 and then took a position with a private liberal arts college, gave me summers off to develop my perennial gardens,. hybridize miniroses and daylilies, plant a smal lorchard, and grow all the other stuff I haven't mentioned, at the old family farm, and at that college I taught many courses such as infectious diseases, general Microboiology, Soil Microbiology, Immunology, Biology of handicapping conditions, Medical Ethics ( a bit oxymoronic there) Biochemistry, to both undergrads and grads.

    Have done too many workshops on tomatoes to name, same with taste testings. worked with the Cornell Coop Ext doing disease tolerance studies, have been on TV, also NPR, have written many articles and done many interviews.

    Have been a lead Moderator at two sites, currently am the lead Global Mod at another site where I spend maybe 90% of my time and where I do a yearly seed offer as well, Being in a walker now I can't raise the many hundreds of plants and varieties I used to so my job is to find seeds of varieties that will hopefully be new to all or most, and I have four wonderful folks who do seed production for me.

    I Do grow some here at home, well Freda does for me, plants shipped up to me by Craig, but the last 3 years have been just terrible.

    A favorite slicing tomato? No can do b'c faves change from year to year, no can do even best 5 or 10, or whatever. Sorry.

    What have I forgotten to answer. (smile)

    Carolyn, who suggests you do check my page here at GW. Back in 2004 and 2005 things got very nasty here, very nasty indeed, so when a new site opened in Jan of 2006 I was asked to be a Global Mod and was glad to do so.

  • hudson___wy
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Carolyn,
    Very Impressive !!!
    First - let me say thanks for taking the time to answer my questions - It is so nice to get to know who you are and your background. You have such a great combination of experience and knowledge being raised on the farm and having a BS & Ph.D. We are lucky to have you as a moderator and I have noticed your posts since I first became a member of GW. It was easy to recognize that you knew what you were talking about and I wondered - who is this Carolyn - that is so knowledgeable? Now I know - Thanks !!

    I will have to check out your book on Amazon !

    I liked your answer about your favorite slicing tomato! I am experiencing exactly what you said and didn't realize it.

    Well, I wished you were my neighbor so I could pick your brain every other day but I guess the GW forum will have to do. Let me know if you ever make it to Wyoming - I don't live that far from Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole !

    This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Wed, Nov 13, 13 at 0:54

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Carolyn, I've always considered your responses here to be the final word and now I know why. Quite an impressive CV. And after this past summer, which was quite horrible for my tomatoes, I know why you say everything is variable -- some of my faves just tasted awful with all the rain, high heat at the worst possible time, etc. Thanks for all you do.

    Caryl, who invariably runs into people who think her name is some shortened version of Carolyn, or that I've inverted letters and it's Carly instead. :)

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Carolyn, I've always considered your responses here to be the final word and now I know why. Quite an impressive CV. And after this past summer, which was quite horrible for my tomatoes, I know why you say everything is variable -- some of my faves just tasted awful with all the rain, high heat at the worst possible time, etc. Thanks for all you do.

    Caryl, who invariably runs into people who think her name is some shortened version of Carolyn, or that I've inverted letters and it's Carly instead. :)

  • carolyn137
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hudson, I'm not a Mod here but am elsewhere, just to set the record straight. ( smile)

    And if you go to Amazon to check out my book you'll find that it's out of print now but some used copies available, Actually some places are asking in the hundreds of dollars. Sigh.

    I have two pristine copies here at home and when the going price reaches a thousand I'll cash out and put the money in my dark chocolate budget. LOL

    Carolyn, who recieved no royalties from the book b'c she had to cover the photography, but did receive a generous advance, but didn't write the book for money anyway. She did so b'c she was asked to do it as part of a series of 4 books that were subcontracted to Workman Press by Smith and Hawken.

    Carolyn

  • pathydroman
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    These are my indoor Purple Cherokee tomato's. My wife said probably best tomato she has ever eaten!

  • hudson___wy
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Pathydroman - Your CP looks awesome! We ate our last CP of the season this last week :( I am jealous already! My 2014 seeds arrived today though and we will be planting them indoors in about 8 weeks. This year I plan to plant Cherokee Green, Purple and Chocolate along with Indian Stripe - I figure we will be surrounded with knock-out flavor! At least we hope so!

  • pathydroman
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you Hudson. I have four plants and about 50 or so going now. I took these off and found they were great but missing a little sweetness. thinking maybe picked to early or that they were from lower on the plant. Thanks again.

  • msmorningsong
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Wow, what an impressive resume Doctor Carolyn. Your accomplishments are so many my head is spinning. What a very rich and wonderful life you've led. I am buying that book, cannot wait to read it. TYVM :)

  • madabouteu
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Just a note here.. our local Master Gardener association NEVER can grow enough Cherokee Purple transplants for our annual sale. No matter how many we grow, they always sell out, often on the first day!

  • arley_gw
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I grew a bunch of heirlooms in 2013, Cherokee Purple being one of them. It was pretty good, but in exactly the same growing conditions it was surpassed (in flavor) by Black Krim, Marianna's Peace and Stump of the World.

  • gardener21
    7 years ago

    I don't know what all the hype is about this tomato. I have gardened all my life, and in my opinion this is an awful tomato. There is not a thing about it that I like. The color is terrible with its sickly green shoulders. It isn't juicy enough. It doesn't have the acid bite that I like, and while my Celebrities on either side of it are overflowing with fruit, the Cherokee purple between them has only produced 2 or three tomatoes. What's not to hate about this tomato!

  • fcivish
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The green shoulders on Cherokee Purple and many other "Black" tomatoes has nothing to do with ripeness. They are ripe when the tomato develops full color and starts to soften. The green shoulders on these particular tomatoes is because they have` a color variant gene that makes the shoulders appear green, even though it is ripe. It is just a green color, not an indication of ripeness. Inside, you will find that it is ripe. The green color is just a pigment. Learn to use tomato firmness and softness as a better measure of ripeness than green color, since some tomatoes are fully green, yet still ripe.

  • Seysonn_ 8a-NC/HZ-7
    7 years ago

    In addition to what fcivish said, even if the green persists under the skin, it is ripe. Multi-color tomatoes are like that too.

    Then taste preference is a personal thing. Nobody can convince you that you should like this or that tomato because most people do. CP is maybe among top 5 tasty tomatoes but still there are people who do not like its taste. Thats ok.


    Sey

  • fcivish
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The green shoulder gene used to be not uncommon, even on red tomatoes, but it is no wonder that commercial breeders bred it out, since it sure seems to confuse a lot of people. A healthy tomato will ripen all the way through, all at the same time, no matter whether the shoulders appear green or not. If you wait for green shoulders to disappear, you will never be able to eat them, since the green generally doesn't. Personally, I like green shoulders. It doesn't affect the taste, but to me, it kind of says, "old style, homey, heirloom." Rather than some commercial piece of junk.

    Also, I know that Cherokee Purple and Cherokee Chocolate are supposed to be exactly the same tomato, with a minimal skin coloration difference, but, to me, they taste quite different. I really DO prefer the Cherokee Chocolate. However,I wonder if the difference might actually be in their level of ripeness when I eat them. Perhaps I am more affected by color than I think and I eat the Cherokee Chocolate either riper or less ripe than the Cherokee Purple. If so, it is a sign that color can even affect me, when I eat so many different colors of tomatoes that I thought it made no difference to me.

    For people who don't think they like certain tomatoes, I would strongly encourage you to grow your own, and then taste it early in it's ripeness, in the middle, and then again at the end, when it might be approaching too ripe. I think you will find that the flavor, and the complexities of that flavor will change quite markedly. And there are definitely certain types of tomatoes that I prefer when they are just ripe, but absolutely don't like when they are VERY ripe. Or vice versa.

    I guess I am saying that there really is no ONE standard of ripeness, just like there is no one standard of taste. Ripe is what you say it is, and levels of ripeness definitely will affect how much you like certain tomatoes. So always keep that in mind, and try different stages of ripeness.