Black Icicle Heirloom Tomatoes
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|Food Buzz: History of Tomatoes|
Black Icicle tomatoes are thick-walled, burgundy-brown fruits, about four ounces in size, with an oblong shape and tapered end. This paste-type tomato looks like a Roma tomato but has the taste profile of a Beefsteak tomato, with sweet, rich, and earthy flavors. Black Icicle tomato plants have small, green serrated leaves, and they are an indeterminate variety, so they will continue to grow and produce fruit until killed by frost. They are very productive but late to ripen. They can grow up to six feet tall, and are often recommended for caging or trellising. Like all heirloom varieties, Black Icicle tomatoes are open-pollinated, which means that saved seed will reproduce the same variety when planted the next year unless natural cross-pollination or spontaneous mutation occurs.
The Black Icicle tomato is scientifically known as Solanum lycopersicum 'Black Icicle', and like all tomatoes it is a member of the Solanaceae, or nightshade, family. The Black Icicle is part of a series of paste-type tomatoes from the Ukraine that were bred for their bright colors, thick sweet flesh, and minimal seeds. Paste tomatoes are also referred to as plum, pear, processing, saladette, or sauce tomatoes. Quality paste tomatoes are meaty and seedless, or have very few seeds, and they are dryer than other types, all characteristics that make them perfect for sauces and sun-drying.
Tomatoes are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, notably lycopene, which may lower the risk of certain types of cancer, particularly cancers of the prostate, lung, and stomach. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, which is important for healthy eyes, skin, bones and teeth. Tomatoes also contain vitamin B and potassium, making them effective in reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure.
The Black Icicle tomato’s meaty and flavorful flesh is good for both fresh eating and cooking. The beautiful, dark fruit makes for a tasty and colorful addition to summer salads, and as a paste tomato it is the best type for fresh cooking, dehydrating, canning, and making sauces or salsa. Paste tomatoes are characterized by being meatier and less juicy than other types of tomatoes. With their lower juice content, the fruit requires less time to cook down to a paste consistency, and with higher soluble solids and viscosity, the sweet flavor of the fruit greatly intensifies. Store tomatoes at room temperature away from direct sunlight until they are ripe, after which refrigeration will slow the process of decay.
The Black Icicle tomato is one of several colorful icicle tomatoes, including orange, pink and yellow icicle, that are from the Ukraine and are relatively new to the U.S. market. This Ukrainian heirloom was originally known as Sosulka Chernaya, which translates to Black Icicle.
The Black Icicle tomato is believed to have originated in the Ukraine and been introduced in the United States by Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. It is known as a tender cultivar, and like all tomatoes it will not stand up to a frost. Black Icicle tomatoes have been said to grow well in USDA hardiness zones three through eleven, and have shown sustainability through drought and high heat.
Recipes that include Black Icicle Heirloom Tomatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.
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