Beefmaster Tomato: The Delicious, Versatile heirloom variety

Beefmaster Tomato: The Delicious, Versatile heirloom variety

Summertime brings visions of vibrant, ripe tomatoes fresh from the garden. While classic varieties like Beefsteak and Cherry remain popular, I urge you to make room this season for an under-appreciated heirloom gem: the Beefmaster tomato.

This oxheart tomato stands out for its meaty texture, rich old-fashioned flavors, and enormous size reaching over 2 pounds.

If you crave an heirloom tomato that can hold its own in hot humid climates, it’s time to get acquainted with the legendary Beefmaster. Keep reading to learn all about growing, harvesting, and savoring this jumbo tomato sure to become a favorite.

An Introduction to Beefmaster Tomatoes

The Beefmaster tomato traces its origins to Altus, Arkansas tomato breeder Dr. James Baggett. While working at Oklahoma State University in 1954, Baggett crossed a Rio Grande heirloom with a smaller red variety seeking a superior large tomato for hot regions.

After 12 years of selection and field trials, Baggett introduced the final result as the Beefmaster tomato in 1966. It proved an instant success across the Southern and Southwestern United States for its combination of huge size, meaty texture, rich taste, and heat tolerance.

True to its name, Beefmaster tomatoes can grow over 2 pounds apiece under ideal conditions. They resemble large oxheart types with minimal seed cavities and firm, juicy flesh when ripe. Plants supply relatively high yields for such massive fruits.

Beyond its impressive heft, the Beefmaster won devotees for packing incredible old-fashioned tomato essence into every bite. The rich, sweet flavors contain intriguing fruity and spicy nuances. When cooked down, Beefmasters make phenomenal sauces.

This variety thrives where humidity and heat quickly overwhelm most tomatoes. Its excellent disease resistance provides a bounty of flawless fruits even in steamy Southern summers. For gardeners seeking huge, tasty heirloom tomatoes able to laugh off heat and humidity, Beefmaster is the answer.

Key Facts About Beefmaster Tomatoes

  • Color: Rich crimson red
  • Size: Up to 2+ lbs, usually 1.5 lbs
  • Shape: Flattened globe, oxheart style
  • Taste: Sweet, fruity, with spicy overtones
  • Texture: Very meaty, nearly solid, few seeds
  • Plant Type: Indeterminate vine
  • Days to Maturity: 80-90 days
  • Yield: Moderate to heavy
  • Heat Tolerance: Withstands high heat and humidity

What things you like

  • Produces very large, meaty fruits averaging 1-2 lbs. Excellent for slicing, sauces, etc.
  • Incredible old-fashioned tomato flavor-rich, sweet with a good tangy balance.
  • Vigorous, productive plants can yield up to 20 lbs per plant.
  • Tolerates heat very well. A good choice for hot summer climates.
  • Resists cracking and disease better than other heirlooms.

what things you don’t like

  • Can develop hard cores and mealiness if overripe or stressed. Pick promptly when ready.
  • Prone to bruising – needs gentle handling when harvesting and transporting.
  • Thin skin means a shorter shelf life compared to hybrids. Best eaten fresh.
  • Tendency to split after periods of heavy rain followed by dry weather.
  • Not the prettiest tomato. The oblate shape and ribbed shoulders are a bit irregular.

The Flavor and Texture of Beefmaster Tomato

Biting into a ripe Beefmaster tomato is a revelation for the senses. This juicy heirloom ravishes your tastebuds with a symphony of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors that offer an authentic old-fashioned tomato experience.

The Beefmaster’s thin skin gives way to succulent flesh that feels like velvet on your tongue. The texture strikes a perfect balance between delicate and meaty. Each mouthful dissolves into a burst of warm, tomatoey juice that satiates your craving.

Unlike bland supermarket varieties, the Beefmaster tomato does not disappoint when it comes to rich, complex taste. It explodes with the essence of tomato in its purest form – bright, summery, and vibrant. Notes of earthy umami and smoky spices round out the flavors.

There’s a lovely fruity quality as well, with hints of berries and citrus zest that keep each bite interesting. The acidity provides brightness but does not overwhelm it. It mingles beautifully with the natural sweetness of the tomato itself.

While the Beefmaster may lack the polished look of modern hybrids, its rough-around-the-edges charm comes through in its honest, old-fashioned flavor. This tomato is a forgotten summer treat that your tastebuds will crave again and again.

Growing Robust Beefmaster Tomatoes

Beefmasters require warm conditions with a long growing season to reach peak size and flavor potential. This variety thrives in USDA Zones 8-11. Gardeners in cooler climates can try container growing with extra heat.

Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before your last expected frost date. Use a heat mat like the VIVOSUN Seedling Heat Mat to maintain optimal germination temperatures. Once sprouted, provide lots of light and gentle air circulation until transplanting outside.

Give Beefmaster plants plenty of space, at least 4 feet apart. Install tall sturdy supports like 8-foot Tomato Trellis from BestNest immediately, as vines can quickly grow 6+ feet long when happy. Determinate varieties like Celebrity Bush Tomato make a good compact option for planters.

Site Beefmaster tomatoes in full sun with fertile organic soil. Applying an organic fertilizer like Dr. Earth Organic Tomato Fertilizer provides a nutritional boost. Mulch and irrigate regularly during dry spells. Prune excess leaves and shoots to encourage good airflow and sun penetration.

Monitor for common tomato pests like hornworms and treat them organically if found. Pick fruits once they fully ripen for peak flavor. With attentive care, you can harvest over 20 pounds of enormous Beefmaster tomatoes from each plant!

Harvesting Beefy Beefmaster Tomatoes

Timing is everything when it comes to picking Beefmaster tomatoes at peak flavor. Here’s what to look for:

  • Start checking fruits 80 days after transplanting or when tomatoes start changing color. Pick Beefmasters at deep red ripeness.
  • Ripe tomatoes will detach easily from vines with a gentle twist. Never tug or pull fruits off forcibly.
  • Avoid bruising the thin skin when handling. Use two hands to cradle and lift heavy Beefmaster tomatoes.
  • Pick fruits as they ripen to encourage more production. Don’t allow overripe tomatoes to linger on vines.
  • For the best quality and taste, harvest in the morning after the dew dries but before daytime heat builds.

Picked Beefmaster tomatoes stop ripening, so only harvest fruits that feel slightly soft and smell sweetly fragrant. Enjoy immediately for an unforgettable tomato experience!

Storing and Cooking with Beefmaster Tomatoes

Enjoy Beefmaster tomatoes immediately after picking them for the best experience. The thin skin means minced texture and dull flavors if left to sit after cutting.

Never refrigerate fresh tomatoes! The cold damages textures and flavors. Store ripe fruits at cool room temperature out of direct sun to extend shelf life for a day or two.

Preserve your Beefmaster surplus using these methods:

  • Canning – Cook down into flavorful tomato sauce, salsa, or stewed tomatoes
  • Freezing – Blanch then freeze diced tomatoes for later use in cooking
  • Drying – Use a dehydrator or oven to create sweet-dried Beefmaster tomatoes
  • Juicing – Turn into nutritious tomato juice and freeze in serving portions

Beefmaster Recipes Ideas

The large size, meaty texture, and dynamic flavor of Beefmaster tomatoes make them perfect for:

Beefmaster BLT Sandwiches

There’s no better tomato for piling high on crispy bacon lettuce sandwiches! Beefmasters slice thickly for juicy bites.

Grilled Beefmaster and Mozzarella Skewers

Alternate cherry-sized Beefmaster chunks with fresh mozzarella balls and basil leaves on skewers for easy appetizers.

Beefmaster Bruschetta

Dice Beefmasters into chunks and mix with basil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar to top grilled bread slices.

Beefmaster Tomato Sauce

Chop and simmer Beefmasters into a rich, sweet sauce for pasta. Add garlic, onions, basil, and red wine for depth.

Stuffed Beefmaster Tomatoes

Hollow out huge Beefmasters and stuff with quinoa, black beans, corn, avocado and Tex-Mex spices for a meal.

Roasted Beefmaster Soup

Roast Beefmaster halves drizzled in olive oil before blending into silky tomato soup with vegetable or chicken stock.

Don’t let the humble Beefmaster’s looks deceive you – use its dynamic flavor and meaty texture to elevate your recipes!

Where to Find Beefmaster Tomato Plants and Seeds

Most major garden centers offer Beefmaster tomato plants seasonally, but supplies are limited. You may need to grow this heirloom from seeds ordered from specialty sellers like:

Start browsing for your Beefmaster seeds or transplants now to enjoy their old-fashioned goodness this season! Just be sure to provide this vigorous heirloom with enough space and support to reach its full potential.

Wrapping up

As you’ve learned, the humble-looking Beefmaster tomato boasts outrageously rich flavor and impressive resilience. Give this underrated heirloom a try in your garden and you’ll be won over by its sweet taste and generous yields.

I hope these growing tips and usage ideas inspire you to make room for Beefmaster tomatoes this season. Let me know in the comments how these big beauties thrive in your own backyard!


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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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