Thursday, August 15, 2013

In Praise of the Black Krim Tomato

If you grow your own tomatoes, you have the luxury of choosing varieties that would probably not make it to many farmers' markets, let alone to a supermarket.  Such is true of my favorite:  the Black Krim.

The Black Krim is my favorite so far of the entire family of "black" tomatoes.  As you can see in the picture, they aren't really black, but when they are peeled and sliced, they look kind of bruised and beaten.  Their flesh ranges from a deep purple through red and into a rather sickly green, making them one of the least attractive tomatoes to see on your plate.

To top it all off, they are not very satisfying to let ripen.  They have dark green shoulders that can take up as much as a third of the fruit, and these green shoulders never turn red -- or, at least, they never do for me.  Instead, that is where the tomato seems to hide all of its core, so that it is easier to just chop off everything green before you peel or slice.

But once you deal with this, they are a wonder to behold.  A perfectly ripe Black Krim has skin that slips from the fruit with the barest touch of a knife, making them perfect for people like me who like to peel their tomatoes before slicing.  They are extremely juicy while being extremely meaty, which means that they are a wonderful addition to sauces and juices.

The flavor, though, is what brings me back.  They are acidy, with a tingle on the tongue that reminds me of the old fashioned tomatoes my Grandma grew.  And they have a "dark" undertone to their flavor that is decidedly meaty, rather than hewing toward the "berry" flavors that some slicer tomatoes can have.  Make no mistake, this is a savory tomato, not a sweet one.

My garden critters love the Black Krims as much as I do, and since the plants tend to set fruit near the ground, I lose a certain percentage every year.  But the ones I get to eat are pure heaven, and I am not exaggerating to say that I have dreams of Black Krim tomatoes in the depths of winter.

What is your favorite tomato variety?
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