Purple Calabash Tomato: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2008

Part of Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2008

Purple Calabash TomatoThis is yet another pretty tomato. To be honest, I am really starting to mistrust pretty tomatoes. If it looks good enough to be used in a Food Channel commercial, my historical experience indicates that it will not work in my food kitchen.

But one cannot come to judge a tomato by its looks, be them good, bad or pretty.

The description from the company I got it from reads:

A beautiful, drought tolerant variety producing small to medium (21/2 to 3 inch), flat, deeply ruffled, chocolate-brown to deep purple fruit. (Mine were u-shaped, boat shaped and large, but very, very tasty) Intensely rich, almost wine-like flavor. Crack resistant and stores well. Indeterminate. 85 days.

The Beauty Pageant:

Size: Smallish medium. The one pictured was on the large side for this tomato.

Shape: Ruffled like a debutant dress.

Color: Brick red.

The inside: Slightly loose gel, but overall it holds up well to slicing. The seeds are rather large for the size of the tomato and I am willing to bet that is by design. This tomato was made to be turned into sauces and condiments, so large seeds would make it easier to mesh them out. Thick core with thin walls.

Texture: The ruffles are chambers, each with a thick wall and a small open area with the gel and seeds. The core is thick.


Off the Vine Tasting: This is a strong flavored tomato. Very sour with a strong tomato backbone. The sour is reminiscent of lemons.

Sliced and Salted Tasting: The salt really reduces the sour flavor and leaves it tasting pretty bland.

Cooking Thoughts: I think this would work best for a salad or a bruchetta. The sour flavor lends itself to a gourmet kind of dish, where the odd flavor will not be a surprise.

Growing Notes:
Tall plant, but it produces sporadically.

Will Hanna grow this one again:
Probably not. Not a bad tomato, but not one that I could find many uses for in my home. The smallish, multi-chambered nature does not make it good for too many things and the strong flavor makes it even less usable.

8 thoughts on “Purple Calabash Tomato: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2008
  1. Oh, but it looks very heirloom-y…I’m glad I read your review of it. I’d probably not seek that one out either!


  2. Hi, I love reading your blog especially about tomatoes and wondered if you know anything about one called Porter.

    I bought one and planted it in the Spring and got tons and tons of sweet small tomatoes. Now I can’t find the plant.

    Is it a Spring only variety? We have fall gardens here in Texas and was hoping to grow more of these wonderful firm, sweet tomatoes!


  3. Melanie on

    I grew this last year. I found it hard to slice because of its shape….which caused a lot of waste.


  4. eris on

    I grew these his year. Started from seed in April, planted in May, and by July I had a sprawling monster of a plant – 8 feet and spilling out of its cage in all directions. Its now October and its still growing! It must be 12 feet around and still producing, too.

    I thought these tomatoes tasted like gooseberries or currants (very tangy and fruity), but when cooked, they become very, very sweet (and, oh, so many seeds).


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