If you love tomatoes and are looking for a low maintenance variety, you should consider growing Oxheart tomatoes.
They have an interesting appearance, a lovely flavor, and are fairly easy to grow.
Whilst they are not the most common variety of tomato, they are very popular in Europe – especially in farmer’s markets in France and Spain.
But what are oxheart tomatoes? What characteristics do they have? What do they taste like? And why should you grow them in your garden?
If you want to learn more about oxheart tomatoes then keep reading.
We have put together this guide to tell you everything that you need to know about this wonderful variety of tomato.
The Origin Of Oxheart Tomatoes
Before you think about the characteristics and growing tips of the Oxheart tomato, it is important to understand the origins of the plant. Oxheart tomatoes are a variety of beef tomatoes.
They originated from Russia over 100 years ago and have grown in popularity and spread from Europe to the United States.
The fruit on Oxheart tomato plants is very large, and due to a genetic mutation the bottom of the tomato has a very interesting shape.
It is elongated, and on some of them the sides of the fruit are ridged.
This makes it resemble a cattle heart, which is where the variety gets its name.
After the first Oxheart tomatoes were cultivated they were crossbred to create more varieties, so there is now a wide range of oxheart tomatoes available to grow and eat.
They are popular with gardeners who want to try something different to classic beef tomatoes. Keep reading to find out more about the Oxheart tomato and how to grow it.
Oxheart Tomato Characteristics
So, what are the characteristics of an Oxheart tomato? What can you expect from the plant and the fruit that comes from it?
First, let’s talk about the flavor. This is arguably the most important characteristic of the tomato. You need to know what taste to expect so you know what to do with the fruit once it is grown.
The scent is aromatic and strong, and they are sweet with a slight acidic tang. This can vary depending on what variety you are growing – some of them are more acidic, others savory, others very sweet.
The texture of the tomato is also important. They have a fairly low water content and thick flesh. They don’t have many seeds and the seed cavities are small.
They work well sliced in salads or reduced into a sauce or a paste. Once picked, they don’t last very long and will go soft quickly.
The plant itself can grow up to two meters high. It needs to have good sun exposure and protection from heavy rain.
Depending on the climate where you live, you might need to keep it in a greenhouse.
Some gardeners think that their Oxheart tomato plant is not doing well because the leaves are quite droopy and tend to curl and twist. However, this is normal for this variety.
Oxheart tomatoes tend to ripen in the mid to late season, but they are indeterminate.
This means that the plant can continue to produce fruit once the first tomatoes of the season have been harvested.
This means that you need to stay on top of the pruning and maintenance of the plant.
Varieties Of Oxheart Tomatoes
There are lots of different varieties of oxheart tomato. They vary in size, color, flavor and texture. Here are some of the best varieties that you should consider growing in your garden:
- Coeur De Boeuf – This is the most commonly known type of oxheart tomato with the classic shape. They are mostly grown in France and are harvested from mid-July onwards. If you decide to grow them in your garden you may need to provide some rain protection.
- Bulgarian Oxheart – This form of oxheart tomato grows pink fruit rather than rich red fruit, but it still has the classic heart shape.
- Anna Russian – This kind of oxheart tomato has a milder taste than some, and works nicely when reduced into a sauce. The fruit is large and deep pink or red in color.
- White Oxheart – These tomatoes are not actually white but yellow in color. The flavor is very sweet and fruity and these plants will thrive best in a greenhouse rather than outdoors.
- Orange Russian – Orange Russian oxheart tomatoes produce very large, sweet, juicy fruit that have a warm color. They need to be grown in a greenhouse.
Tips For Growing Oxheart Tomatoes
If you decide to grow Oxheart tomatoes in your garden, there are a few things that you need to remember to make sure that you get the most from your crop:
- Growing Time – Depending on the variety, the tomatoes will take between 70 and 90 days from planting to harvest. To make the most of the warm weather outside, you should start the seedlings off indoors 4 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Once the weather has warmed up you can move them outside.
- Planting – Tomatoes should always be planted in a nice deep hole. This means that the stem will be partially covered which encourages more root growth, increasing your yield from each plant. Make sure that the soil has been prepared for tomatoes, with the right nutrients.
- Fertilizer – Tomatoes need a lot of nutrients to grow properly, which means that you should use fertilizer to prepare the soil and reapply it throughout the season.
- Support – The fruit grows large and heavy, so you might need to support the plant with a wooden pole.
- Placement – If you are growing your tomatoes outside rather than in a greenhouse, you should make sure that you place it in a spot with good sun exposure and protection from the rain. A south facing direction is ideal. It is good to plant it up against a south facing wall if possible – this provides extra support, protection, and heat.
- Pruning – Remove dead leaves and flowers, harvest the fruit on time, and do your best to keep the plant in good condition.
What To Use Oxheart Tomatoes For?
Oxheart tomatoes are surprisingly versatile. Here some some ideas for what you can do with your oxheart tomatoes:
Oxheart tomatoes are perfect for slicing and using in salads or sandwiches. Sprinkle with a little seasalt to contrast the sweetness and create an irresistible flavor.
The size of oxheart tomatoes and their dense flesh makes them ideal for stuffing. They are large enough to hold plenty of filling, and they will maintain their structure. Try stuffing them with rice or with soft cheese.
The low water content, small amount of seeds, and dense flesh of oxheart tomatoes make them a great choice for processing and canning.
You can reduce them into a paste or a sauce and then preserve them for later use. This is a great way to use an excess of tomatoes that you won’t have time to eat fresh before they spoil.
The beautiful flavor of oxheart tomatoes make them a wonderful choice for tomato soup.
You could make a plain tomato soup, tomato and basil, tomato and mascarpone, tomato and lentil, or a chunky tomato and vegetable soup.
Why You Should Grow Oxheart Tomatoes?
There are lots of reasons why you should consider growing oxheart tomatoes. If you are considering trying out this variety in your garden but you’re not sure, you should consider these factors:
- Yield – As oxheart tomatoes are indeterminate, you can expect a high yield of fruit from each plant across the season. This makes them an excellent choice if you enjoy eating fresh tomatoes and cooking with them. It is also great if you don’t have space for multiple plants, as you will get lots of fruit from just one.
- Maintenance – You need to keep up with pruning the oxheart tomato plant throughout the growing season. However, they are relatively easy to look after and are suitable for even inexperienced gardeners.
- Versatility – Whether you enjoy eating fresh tomatoes or cooking with them, you will enjoy using the fruit from the oxheart plants. You can use them in lots of different ways.
- Appearance – These tomatoes have a more interesting and exciting appearance than other varieties of tomatoes. This makes them a lovely fruit to harvest and gift to friends or neighbors, and they add character to your garden. If you are bored of growing the usual varieties of tomato, this will be a satisfying change.
- Variety – The different varieties of oxheart tomatoes gives you lots of choice in terms of color and flavor profile. You can use the various types of oxheart tomatoes for different things. Learning the slightly different growing requirements for each type of oxheart tomato will keep you busy and entertained and is a fun gardening challenge.
Oxheart tomatoes are an interesting form of beef tomato that are versatile and delicious.
They are relatively easy to grow and produce large, flavorsome fruit that have a unique and recognizable shape.
You can use them for soup, sauces and salads, and each plant will produce a high yield of fruit.
If you are looking for a new plant to grow in your garden then you should consider trying oxheart tomatoes.
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