Black Pearl Tomato: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2010

Part of Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2010

Avast, ye maties. This blog post will be taking us well into the treacherous waters outside of the land of tomatoes. So, our tastie buds had better be ready. Savvy?

Ok, so I need to work on my pirate speak a lot before the next Talk Like A Pirate Day. But the point I am trying to make is that these little cherries’ name was the one and only reason I bought them. There I was sailing down the plant isle and I see a sign that says “Black Pearl Tomatoes.” Since I am a HUGE Pirates of the Caribbean fan (translation, I think Johnny Depp is really hot), I had to have these tomatoes. And since Rowena (from The Proud Garden) made the same comment about the name, I feel that this was a blatant marketing attempt on the part of the breeder. This is a hybrid, but I am not that kind of tomato snob (I am another kind of tomato snob, but if you have read long enough, you know what that is). Needless to say, the breeder’s marketing ploy has worked and I (along with most likely 100s of others) bought this tomato purely based on the name.

The description from the company I got it from reads:

A true treasure, ‘Black Pearl’ is two different flavors in one cherry tomato. Enjoy right off the vine, but be sure to put a big bowlful in the refrigerator for a special treat. When chilled, ‘Black Pearl’ has a unique, extra sweet, ‘Concord’ grape flavor. Indeterminate vines produce 1 ½ inches, purplish black fruits in abundance until fall. A rare pearl!

The Beauty Pageant:

Size: The size of shooter marbles

Shape: Mostly round but with just a bit of a flattened area on the top of the tomato. Uniform in shape and size.

Color: Deep orange-red on the bottom with classic green-brown black tomato shoulders. The shoulders fade down over the side to about midway down.

The inside:Thin walls and a moderate size core for the size. Seeds are very small. Gel is very loose and watery. Two chambers hold the seeds and gel.

Texture: The texture is pretty liquid. The gel is so loose, that it floods your mouth when you bite the tomato. The skin is thin along with the walls, which means that this does not have “pop” like eating an eyeball that you normally get with other cherry tomatoes.


Off the Vine Tasting: The flavor of this is really very interesting. It starts out really, really tart (which is the gel flooding your mouth), but the flesh is really, really sweet, so you get this cool melting from one extreme to the next.

Sliced and Salted Tasting: Salt really cranks up the tartness, but does nothing for the sweet. This means that the really nice flavor balance from before is completely thrown out of whack and that is not all that good.

Special Tasting: Since the seller claims that these tomatoes taste good cold, I am going to give this a try. I find this an interesting claim because normally you are told not to because it destroys some of the flavor chemicals in tomatoes. Maybe, for this tomato, it kills the right ones, which changes the flavor in a positive manner.

Nope, that was a fail. Chilling just made this tomato taste like a run of the mill tomato. It loses its personality completely. It tasted more like grapes before I chilled it.

Cooking Thoughts: I think that these would be disrespected if they were served any way but in a bowl as an appetizer for your guests at a dinner party or at least as a nice afternoon snack. Served as is, without accompaniment, so that their natural flavor can be appreciated.

Growing Notes:

Typical cherry tomato vine. It is all over the place and is producing prolifically.

Will Hanna grow this one again:

I would love to, but and this is a big but, it is a hybrid. Because of this, I can only grow it as long as the seller sells it. The first year the seller decides it does not sell well enough, it is gone from the market never to be seen again. A shame really.

8 thoughts on “Black Pearl Tomato: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2010
  1. Arggh! And here I was ready to start sewing my eye patch. I’m totally with you on the hybrid thing, so I guess that means no guaranteed Johnny Depp tomato tributes if the popularity of Black Pearl ends up on the cursed list.


  2. What a coincidence….the description the company gave for ‘Black Pearl’ is almost identical to the description I read the first year that ‘Black Cherry’ was sold by I believe Burpee. I bought them solely because of the claim that you could refrigerate them for a new taste treat. LOL small world huh?!?


  3. I’m slowly gathering my intel to figure out what varieties of tomatoes to grow for next year. It was so helpful to read such a detailed profile on this tomato – thank you Hanna! I do love clever variety names (like Hillybilly tomatoes), and this Black Pearl would have definitely caught my attention, like it did yours. Do you have a list of your favorite tomatoes to grow?


  4. Thank god there are so many other good tomato varieties! I guess we have to go back back and grow the old fashioned ones. Or maybe they will just rename it and market it under a different name that is more poular!


  5. Seriously, I have no idea how I ended up here but I really love your blog so I’m going to hang out awhile and check stuff out.

    The tomatoes look awesome! I live in Phoenix and haven’t had a decent tomato in years. A bowlful of those would disappear very quickly. 🙂


  6. i would get these just because they don’t pop like an eyeball when you eat them! I hate that part! I usually just cut them in half to avoid it.
    – Kimmi


  7. tropical RD on

    Been growing Black Pearl this year and YUM!! They beat the pants off the other cherries I grew. Darn hybrid… I wanted more the cheap way. (BTW– not a fan of the Pirates… just a fan of black tomatoes)


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