The German Queen Tomato: A Delicious Heirloom Gem

Imagine biting into a tomato that bursts with a sweet, rich flavor reminiscent of a summer garden. The German Queen tomato, an heirloom variety with a captivating pink blush, is a true gem in the culinary world. This majestic beefsteak tomato, dating back to the 1870s in the Bavarian region of Germany, has captured the hearts of gardeners and chefs alike with its exceptional taste and texture.

History of The German Queen Tomato

The German Queen Tomato’s journey to the United States is a fascinating tale. In the early 1880s, a man named Michael Ott brought the seeds from Bavaria to his new home across the Atlantic. Although the exact origins of this variety are shrouded in mystery, many believe it to be a descendant of the beloved Brandywine tomato.

Over time, the German Queen tomato has earned a reputation as a prolific and reliable producer, yielding an abundance of large, juicy fruits throughout the growing season. Its popularity has only grown, with gardeners and chefs alike praising its exceptional flavor and versatility.

Gardener’s Delight Tomato: Quick Facts

Color: Deep, glossy red when fully ripe
Size: Small, typically 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter
Shape: Round to slightly oval, classic cherry tomato shape
Taste: Incredibly sweet with a perfect balance of tanginess, true “tomato-y” flavor
Texture: Juicy, medium-firm flesh with a slight sheen on the skin
Plant Type: Indeterminate vine, reaching 6-8 feet tall or more
Days to Maturity: Mid-season, about 65-75 days from transplanting
Yield: Extremely high, hundreds of tomatoes per plant
Disease Resistance: Generally robust, especially with good air circulation
Hardiness Zone: Adaptable, thrives in zones 3-9

Pros

  • Unparalleled sweetness, often described as the sweetest cherry tomato
  • Incredibly high yield, with up to 20 tomatoes per truss
  • Long harvest window, producing from midsummer until frost
  • Rich, complex flavor that’s both sweet and tangy
  • Perfect snacking size, ideal for fresh eating
  • Versatile in cooking, from salads to sauces
  • Good adaptability to various climates
  • Open growth habit helps prevent fungal diseases
  • High in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant
  • Attractive, glossy red fruits in large clusters

Cons

  • Indeterminate growth requires robust support (tall stakes or trellises)
  • Small size is not ideal for slicing on sandwiches
  • Can be overwhelming in quantity—plan to share or preserve
  • Needs consistent watering to maintain sweetness
  • May be more susceptible to tomato hornworms due to foliage
  • Not bred specifically for disease resistance like some hybrids
  • Tall vines might be challenging in windy areas
  • May split if overripe or after heavy rain

A Regal Appearance

One of the most striking features of the German Queen tomato is its appearance. With a round, slightly flattened shape and distinctive ridges along the top, these tomatoes are truly a sight to behold. Each fruit can grow up to an impressive 32 ounces, though most typically range between 16 and 18 ounces.

The color of the German Queen tomato is a true work of art. As it ripens, the fruit transitions from a light pink hue to a deeper, more vibrant shade, often with a touch of yellowish-green persisting at the top. This stunning palette is sure to add a pop of color to any dish or garden.

The flavor profile of German Queen Tomato

But the German Queen tomato is more than just a pretty face – it’s a true culinary delight. With a low acidity level and a rich, slightly sweet flavor, these tomatoes are a classic representation of what a perfect tomato should taste like.

The texture of the German Queen is equally impressive. Boasting a meaty, firm flesh and a delicate, thin skin, these tomatoes are perfect for slicing and showcasing in all their glory. Whether you’re assembling a classic Caprese salad, crafting a juicy burger, or simply savoring a fresh tomato sandwich, the German Queen is sure to elevate your culinary experience.

Growing the German Queen Tomato

Planting Zones

The German Queen tomato can be grown successfully in a wide range of USDA hardiness zones, from zone 3 to zone 10. This adaptability makes them a great choice for gardeners in various climates, from cool northern regions to warm southern areas.

Planting and Spacing

Start your German Queen tomato seeds indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before the last expected frost in your area. Sow the seeds at a depth of 1/4 inch in starter containers filled with well-draining potting mix. Once the seedlings have grown a few inches tall and the risk of frost has passed, transplant them to your garden.

When planting German Queen tomatoes, make sure they have plenty of space to grow. Place each plant at least 18 to 36 inches apart, as they will spread outward as they mature. This spacing allows for proper air circulation and reduces the risk of disease.

Sunlight and Soil Requirements

German Queen tomatoes thrive in full sun, requiring a minimum of 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Choose a planting location that receives abundant sunshine throughout the growing season.

As for soil, German Queen tomatoes prefer well-draining, slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Before planting, amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve its structure and fertility. This will help ensure your tomato plants have the nutrients they need to produce a bountiful harvest.

Watering and Fertilizing

Consistent moisture is necessary for German Queen tomatoes. Water your plants deeply and regularly, ensuring the soil remains moist but not waterlogged. During hot and dry spells, you may need to water your tomatoes twice a day to keep them hydrated.

German Queen tomatoes benefit from regular fertilization throughout the growing season. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer every few weeks, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, you can use compost or other organic fertilizers to provide your plants with the necessary nutrients.

Pest and Disease Control

While German Queen tomatoes are known for their disease resistance, they can still be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Common pests include tomato hornworms, flea beetles, and mealybugs. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of infestation, such as chewed leaves or the presence of eggs or larvae.

To prevent and control pest issues, consider using natural remedies like handpicking, companion planting, or applying neem oil or insecticidal soap. If you notice any signs of disease, such as yellowing leaves or brown spots, immediately remove the affected parts of the plant to prevent the spread.

Harvesting Your German Queen Tomatoes

Ripening Season

The German Queen tomato is a mid-season variety, typically maturing and ready for harvest around 80 to 90 days after transplanting seedlings into the garden. This means you can expect your first ripe German Queen tomatoes in late summer or early fall, depending on your planting date.

One of the advantages of the German Queen is its indeterminate growth habit, which allows the plant to continue producing tomatoes over an extended period. In most climates, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh German Queen tomatoes from late summer through the first frost of fall—a long and bountiful harvest window.

How to Tell When They’re Ripe

Knowing precisely when to pick your German Queen tomatoes takes a bit of practice, but there are a few clear signs of ripeness to look for. These tomatoes are ready to harvest when they have developed a deep pink blush with yellowish-green streaks covering most of the fruit. The tomato should also yield slightly to gentle pressure and feel a little heavier than it looks.

Avoid picking German Queen tomatoes too early, as they truly reach their peak flavor when allowed to fully ripen on the vine. If needed, you can harvest mature green tomatoes and let them finish ripening indoors, but the flavor may not be quite as rich.

Storage Tips

For the best taste, enjoy your freshly picked German Queen tomatoes right away. Like most tomato varieties, they are at their sweetest and most flavorful when consumed soon after harvesting.

If you need to store them for a few days, never refrigerate fresh tomatoes, as the cold temperatures can dull their flavor and make the texture mealy. Instead, keep German Queen tomatoes at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. They should keep for 3-5 days this way.

For longer storage, consider canning, drying, or freezing your tomatoes. The rich, meaty flesh of the German Queen makes it an excellent choice for canning into sauces, salsas, or juice. You can also oven-dry or dehydrate slices for tomato powder or sun-dried tomatoes.

Nutritional Powerhouse

Beyond its incredible taste, the German Queen tomato is also a nutritional powerhouse. Tomatoes are renowned for their high content of vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium, as well as their abundance of antioxidants like lycopene.

Incorporating the German Queen tomato into your diet can provide a wealth of benefits, from supporting a healthy immune system to promoting heart health and potentially reducing the risk of certain cancers.

German Queen Tomato Recipes

German Queen Tomato Bruschetta

The big, meaty slices of German Queen tomatoes are perfect for topping grilled or toasted bread for a flavorful bruschetta appetizer or snack. Simply dice the tomatoes and mix them with olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

German Queen Tomato Galette

Let the beautiful bicolored German Queen tomatoes be the star of this rustic galette. Arrange slices over a Layer of cheese and herbs on a rustic pastry crust. Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese melts.

German Queen Caprese Salad

The classic Caprese salad gets an upgrade with thick slices of the rich, sweet German Queen tomatoes. Layer them with fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves, and finish with a drizzle of fruity olive oil and balsamic reduction.

German Queen Tomato Bisque

Capture the deep, complex flavors of German Queen tomatoes in a velvety bisque. Roast the tomatoes first to intensify their flavor, then blend with vegetable stock, cream, garlic, and herbs for a soul-warming soup.

German Queen Tomato Jam

Make use of your German Queen bounty by cooking them down into an incredibly flavorful tomato jam. Simmer the tomatoes with sugar, vinegar, and warming spices like cinnamon for a tangy-sweet spread for toast, cheese plates, or glazes.

German Queen BLTs

Put those big, juicy German Queen tomato slices front and center on an epic BLT sandwich. The meaty texture stands up perfectly to crispy bacon and mayo on toasted bread.

Where to Find German Queen Tomato Seeds?

If you’re interested in growing the delectable German Queen tomato variety in your own garden, you can find seeds available from a number of trusted seed suppliers:

  • Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: $2.75 per packet
  • Seed Savers Exchange: $3.75 per packet
  • Johnny’s Selected Seeds: $3.95 per packet
  • Territorial Seed Company: $2.99 per packet
  • Burpee: $4.95 per packet

Wrapping up!

The German Queen tomato is truly a remarkable variety – large, with a deep red color and an incredibly rich, complex flavor profile. It’s hard not to be struck by how absolutely delectable and mouth-watering they are when grown to full ripeness on the vine. While not everyone may be familiar with this specific variety, eating a fresh German Queen tomato from the plant is sure to leave a distinctive gastronomic impression. Their taste is so unique, delightful, and unforgettable that it will not soon be forgotten.


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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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