Black Krim vs. Cherokee Purple is a common debate among the dark tomato varieties. While these tomatoes have many similarities, they are also different in a few ways - read on to find out which one you might consider planting.
Who isn't enamored by delicious, dark red tomatoes that veer over into darker purple or even black shades?
Black Krim tomatoes are originally from Ukraine (the Isle of Krim in the Black Sea). So, it is relatively well adapted to slightly colder, temperate climates. Black krim tomatoes are a deep, dark red, with brown or green shoulders.
Cherokee Purple tomatoes were first cultivated by the Cherokee tribe. They are round, grow extremely large (the biggest one I harvested last summer weighed 1 lb!) with flatter tops. They are dark red, veering towards purple or maroon, with brown or green shoulders.
Both are indeterminate (i.e., they will keep growing all season until killed by frost). Both have intense flavors that are great as "slicer" or beefsteak tomatoes (i.e., to eat raw on sandwiches or salads). Throw them on any sandwich or salad (like this Caprese salad), and you won't regret it.
They both require minimum soil temperature of around 60F, and a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sunshine to thrive. They are somewhat drought tolerant and heavy feeders, and can get quite heavy, so will require trellising and pruning. Both have somewhat irregular growth patterns early on, are prone to bruising and often split or crack very easily (typically due to excess watering or rain).
Black Krim tomatoes typically tend to be a bit smaller than Cherokee Purple (which can grow to over a pound in weight). I find Black Krim slightly more prone to sunscald, though otherwise disease resistant, while Cherokee Purple is slightly more prone to fungal diseases early in the season. The Black Krim has a more balanced flavor profile, while the Cherokee Purple is more acidic in taste. Black Krim typically takes about 75 days to maturity, while Cherokee Purple takes closer to 85.
Which is Better: Black Krim vs. Cherokee Purple?
To be honest, unless you were paying close attention to the taste, they might look and even mostly taste the same. So, what's the tie breaker for Black Krim vs. Cherokee Purple?
If I had to pick one, I would pick the Black Krim because I find it slightly more disease resistant, consistent in yielding high-quality fruit across the season, and most importantly: balanced but bold in taste. Rich and intense, but a perfect complement of salty to balance the sweet.
Both Black Krim and Cherokee Purple are deep red tomatoes with purple hues and green or brown shoulders. Both are indeterminate mid-season tomatoes that will keep growing until the season ends with the first frost.
Since both are indeterminate slicer tomatoes, the growing requirements are relatively similar. Start seeds indoors ~6 weeks before your last frost date and transplant outside after nighttime temperatures consistently stay above 55°F (10°C) - ideally with soil temperature above 60°F (15°C).
Remove the lower branches of the seedling and transplant them as deep as possible, burying part of the stem to promote root growth, in a good, high-quality balanced soil. Both are heavy feeders and require a lot of water and nutrients during the growing season. Apply tomato fertilizer while transplanting and fertilize 4 to 6 weeks as needed (depending on quality of soil).
They both grow to about 5 to 7 feet tall, and will require significant staking or trellising, as well as pruning to ensure air flow and growth. Black Krim typically yields 8 to 10 oz tomatoes, while Cherokee Purple frequently reaches 1 lb or even more. The former takes about 72 to 80 days to reach maturity (from transplanting), while the latter takes longer, typically 80 to 90 days to maturity.
Black Krim tends to have concentric cracks, while Cherokee Purple had radial cracks. Both are prone to splitting due to heavy watering, though the Black Krim is slightly more disease resistant.
If you weren't paying close attention, you might struggle with Black Krim vs. Cherokee Purple tomatoes or think they have the same flavor profile! They have deep, intense tomato notes that you want for a slicer tomato.
Black Krim, however, has a more balanced flavor profile. Though it has deep sweet notes, that's balanced by more earthy and almost smoky notes as well. On the other hand, Cherokee Purple has a more subtle, less intense, but more acidic and tart flavor. They are excellent for throwing onto sandwiches or in salads where they're the star of the show. They do have a lot of seeds though, so be careful to not add them too early or they might get soggy.
If you grow both of these tomatoes, leave a comment below and let me know which one you prefer: Black Krim vs. Cherokee Purple and why!