Alicante Tomatoes: Discover its Delicious Flavor and Versatile Uses

Alicante Tomatoes: Discover its Delicious Flavor and Versatile Uses

Key Takeaways

  • Alicante is a 100-year-old heirloom tomato prized for its flavor, productivity, and disease resistance.
  • It produces high yields on vigorous indeterminate vines ripening 70-90 days from transplant.
  • Alicante has a brilliant red color when ripe with thin skin and juicy, meaty flesh.
  • The flavor is outstanding – richly sweet with nice acidity – delicious eaten raw.
  • Good for containers or small spaces; plant in full sun, use tall cages, and avoid overwatering.

The juicy red Alicante tomato is a favorite for gardeners who want reliable yields of great-tasting fruits. This venerable heirloom variety dates back over 100 years and continues to be a top choice for its productivity, flavor, and adaptability.

If you want a tomato that can be used for everything from slicing to sauces, Alicante is for you. Let’s explore why this tomato is so widely grown and how you can enjoy its bounty.

An Introduction to Alicante Tomatoes

With origins tracing back over 100 years, the Alicante tomato has long been popular in Europe and North America. It likely arose somewhere in Western Europe before appearing in British seed catalogs in the early 1900s.

As an open-pollinated heirloom variety, Alicante offers the rich flavor and adaptability prized by generations of growers. These vigorous indeterminate vines yield impressive crops of deliciously robust tomatoes.

The medium-sized fruits weigh 4-6 ounces on average. They shine a brilliant red when fully vine-ripened, with thin yet sturdy skin. The flesh is juicy with a meaty crunch that provides great texture.

In taste tests, Alicante earns rave reviews for its outstanding balanced flavor. The thin skin makes it easy to appreciate the rich sweetness with bright tangy undertones in each juicy bite.

For gardeners wanting a prolific tomato with incredible versatility, it’s easy to see why Alicante remains so popular decades after its introduction.

Quick Fact

  • Color: Brilliant red when ripe
  • Size: 4-6 oz, medium-sized fruits
  • Shape: Oval, slightly flattened round
  • Plant Type: Vigorous indeterminate vines
  • Days to Maturity: 70-90 days from transplant
  • Productivity: Very high yields
  • Disease Resistance: Resistant to verticillium, fusarium, and nematodes
  • Yield: Up to 2 lb per plant, dozens of fruits
  • Growing: Does well in containers and small spaces
  • Seeds: Heirloom, open-pollinated, non-hybrid

Pros

  • Outstanding sweet, complex flavor when vine-ripened
  • Fruits ripen early, within 70-90 days
  • Vigorous, hardy indeterminate vines
  • Tolerant of cool weather and humidity
  • Resistant to fusarium, verticillium, nematodes
  • Heirloom, open-pollinated seeds
  • Compact size good for containers and small spaces

Cons

  • Skin is thin, and can bruise/split if overwatered
  • Softer skin may rot quickly on the vine
  • Not ideal for extremely hot, dry climates
  • Lower acidity than some other heirlooms
  • Difficult to find pre-started plants in nurseries

The Flavor and Texture of Alicante Tomatoes

One of the chief reasons Alicante remains popular with home gardeners is its outstanding flavor when vine ripened. The fruits offer a vibrant, complex taste that really shines when eaten fresh off the vine.

The thin skin allows you to fully savor the rich sweetness and tangy acidity in every juicy bite. There’s a great depth of flavor here that just can’t be matched by grocery-store tomatoes.

In terms of texture, Alicante has firm yet tender flesh that doesn’t get overly soft when ripe. This gives it a satisfying crunch when raw that pops delightfully in your mouth.

The medium size also makes Alicante perfect for using whole in salads, sandwiches, and snacks. It has the right balance of juiciness and firmness to be quite versatile.

Growing Alicante Tomatoes in Your Garden

When starting Alicante tomatoes from seed indoors, use a sterile seed starting mix like Jiffy peat pellets to prevent damping off disease. Place the seeds under grow lights set to 14-16 hours per day to encourage strong germination. A heating mat like VIVOSUN’s seedling heat mat under the seeds at 75-80°F promotes vigorous sprouting.

Keep the Jiffy greenhouse dome vented after sprouting to prevent moisture buildup while still allowing light to reach the seedlings. Grow the Alicante seeds for 6-8 weeks before hardening off and transplanting into the garden.

Once nighttime temperatures stay above 50°F reliably, the hardened-off Alicante tomato transplants can be moved outdoors. Give each plant spacious planting holes about 24-36 inches apart in a sunny spot getting at least 6 hours of direct sun daily.

Install sturdy tomato cages like the Tomato Master trellis when transplanting to support the vigorous vines and heavy yields. Indeterminate Alicante vines will need tall 5-6’ cages.

Alicante tomatoes thrive with consistent moisture. Apply mulch and use drip irrigation like Orbit’s B-Hyve timer to customize watering to the root zone. Avoid overhead watering, which can lead to disease.

Prune back excessive leaves and shoots as the vines grow to open up the plant for sunlight and airflow. Check for hornworms, aphids, or other pests weekly. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap sprays if found.

Harvest Alicante tomatoes when fully red and slightly soft for ideal flavor. With attentive care all season, each Alicante plant can yield dozens of sweet, delicious fruits!

Delicious Alicante Tomato Recipes

The thin skin and firm flesh of Alicante tomatoes make them perfect for recipes like:

Alicante Tomato Mozzarella Skewers

Thread chunks of ripe Alicante tomatoes alternating with fresh mozzarella balls and basil leaves onto skewers. Drizzle with olive oil, and balsamic glaze, and season with salt and pepper.

Alicante Tomato Galette

Lay sliced Alicante tomatoes in circles on a pie dough round. Top with goat cheese, olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Fold the edges over and bake at 425°F until crisp.

Creamy Alicante Tomato Soup

Sauté 1 diced onion and 2 minced garlic cloves in olive oil. Add 5 chopped Alicante tomatoes and 4 cups chicken broth. Simmer then blend until smooth and creamy.

Alicante Tomato Feta Tart

Press the pie dough into a tart pan. Layer with sliced Alicantes, crumbled feta, olive oil, garlic, and Italian herbs. Bake at 400°F until golden brown.

Grilled Alicante Tomato Slices

Brush thick Alicante tomato slices with olive oil and grill for 2-3 minutes per side. Top with feta, fresh basil, and balsamic glaze.

The thin skin and firm flesh make Alicante tomatoes perfect for highlighting their sweet, complex flavor in recipes like these.

Where to Find Alicante Tomato Plants and Seeds

Thanks to its continuing popularity over generations, Alicante tomato seeds and starter plants are readily available from multiple sources:

  • Burpee – This long-time seed company offers non-GMO Alicante seeds bred specifically for robust flavor and sustained yields.
  • Park Seed – Wide selection including organic, untreated, and disease-resistant Alicante tomato seeds.
  • Johnny’s Selected Seeds – Trusted supplier of high-quality Alicante seeds ideal for home gardens.
  • Local Nurseries – Many garden centers carry Alicante tomato seedlings in spring alongside other popular varieties.
  • Online Stores – Retailers like GrowOrganic and Burpee Plants sell Alicante starters by mail order.
  • Totem Tomato – Specializes in “Totem” Alicante plants grafted onto disease-resistant tomato rootstock.

Wrapping up!

For home gardeners wanting a classic heirloom tomato that delivers outstanding vintage flavor along with heavy yields, Alicante is a prized choice. Growing these hardy and vigorous vines will provide you with bushels of incredibly sweet and juicy fruits ideal for fresh eating, sauces, canning, and more.

If you want a prolific tomato with time-tested resilience, rich taste, and tremendous versatility, Alicante is sure to become one of your favorite warm-season crops. This heirloom winner has been beloved for generations, and once you try it, you’ll quickly see why!


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Mohsin
By Mohsin

Hi, I’m Mohsin, creator of Tomato about website. I have over a two decade of gardening experience and I love helping others growing healthy tomatoes!


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