Black From Tula Tomato: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2009

Part of Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2009

black from tula tomatoIf tomatoes spoke, I imagine in my head that this one has a southern accent. Granted, according to its history, it would have a heavy Russian accent, but frankly, Tula does not sound like a cold Eastern Block city, but rather a warm and heavy aired US Southern city.

Regardless of where this tomato hails from, it is awful purrty. It even looks like a Southern Belle with all those ruffles. It even has ruffles on the inside. But the real question is if this tomato cupcake tastes as good as it looks.

The description from the company I got it from reads:

Russian heirloom that is a favorite black of many tomato aficionados. Unique, large 8-12 oz. dark tomato in a deep purplish-brown color.

The Beauty Pageant:

Size: Slightly smaller than the palm of my hand.

Shape: As mentioned, very rufflly. Ruffles on the shoulder which, when you cut it, are reflected on the inside. Makes for a pretty tomato on the plate.

Color: Brick red with green shoulders. The inside has dark red meat and dark green gel, which adds to the visual experience.

The inside: Medium size seeds with thin walls. Gel is juicy but solid.

Texture: The meat is mealy, but to be honest, the walls are so thin, there is very little meat to really ruin the mouth feel of the tomato. The smooth gel is really most of the bite.


Off the Vine Tasting: The initial flavor is strong. Very tangy and deep. It is the gel driving that. The meat is pretty bland next to the gel, but, again, there so little meat, that this is not an issue.

Sliced and Salted Tasting: Salt changes the flavor some by toning down the tang, but it is not by much. It does bring up the meats flavor a bit too, making it taste closer to the gel.

Cooking Thoughts: This would look pretty on a plate, but it is pretty small for a plated tomato. Defiantly good for salads, maybe a caprese salad. Not a saucing tomato as you need the gel to get the flavor.

Growing Notes:
Pretty healthy plant. Some lower leaf loss, but it is hard to tell if that was the plant itself or from raccoon damage.

Will Hanna grow this one again:
Maybe. The flavor is strong and nice. The only thing that is holding this back from a definite yes is not knowing exactly how to serve it regularly. I will have to think on that.

4 thoughts on “Black From Tula Tomato: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2009
  1. Hi Hanna. I grew this tomato for two years. Year one yielded something much like what you describe, but I found myself thinking of wine-speak, i.e., “the finish”. That’s where I found fault. I don’t remember mealiness, which is among my greatest enemies, but my memory is somewhat dim because I didn’t record it with the kind of steady discipline you bring to the table. But I do remember being left somewhat disappointed in my last memory of what transpired between the tomato and the taste bud…

    Year two for me and my poor Tula was a disaster, as it was for my precious Momotaro, my favorite non-Jersey tomato so far and a beauty I think of as a pink on the cusp of being a black, as I got smacked with a fungus I was too distracted to recognize in time.

    For me the finish of Tula was a little off, but I will need a third year to make sure.

    Cheers, and many thanks for what you do, Len.


  2. Jim B on

    It’s been a lousy year for tomatoes on the East Coast but the Tula has been a pleasant surprise. It came in earlier than my other blacks (except the Black Cherry) and although I’ve only gotten a few so far, they’ve been monsters in the softball class. They were also very tasty. I won’t plant them again because I prefer smaller tomatoes. That is the ONLY reason.


  3. I have enjoyed growing this tomato for the first time. I have had several monsters, and some that look like 2 tomatoes growing together. We have eaten several in salads just with basil and olive oil, but today i was making a ragu and had no tinned plum toms,s I just used a few of these, as they were the only ripe ones. It tasted fine, and no-one noticed any difference. I agree with what you say about the flesh being a bit mealy, especially if they are quite soft. Not sure if i will grow again, as there are so many black tomatoes to explore.


  4. Interesting – I’m growing an unknown black tomato variety and it’s not at all mealy but there is something a little lacking in the flavour, as Len says. My variety is much smaller than yours so it’s good for salads.


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