Cherokee Purple vs. Black Krim Tomato: A Growing Guide

The Cherokee Purple tomato is a non-hybrid variety that looks similar to a Roma tomato. The Cherokee Purple tomatoes have medium-sized oblate-oblong fruit with a deep purple color. Cherokee Purple tomatoes tend to be redder in their mature state, but they will eventually turn a nice shade of purple after ripening. This tomato is one of the most productive tomato plants I’ve ever grown and yields a bunch of tomatoes in large numbers.

Black Krim is an attractive tomato different from the larger black cherry varieties. Black Krim tomatoes have a mild, sweet taste compared to other cherry varieties and can be saved for canning or freezing. Black Krim tomatoes are a hybrid between Delaware Black and Big Beef. This tomato is a determinate variety, so it does not require special treatment for indeterminate or bush types.

ProductCherokee PurpleBlack Krim
Color brown shouldersbrown shoulders
Size8 to 16 oz (0.23 to 0.45 kg)8 to 12 oz (0.23 to 0.34 kg)
FlavorIntense, rich, smokyBalanced; tart, rich, sweet 
Days to Maturity80-85 days80 days 
TypeBeefsteak; indeterminateBeefsteak; indeterminate
Heirloom Beefsteak; indeterminateBeefsteak; indeterminate
Requires Staking Yes  Yes
Flavor Rich & SmokyRich & Smoky
Good for CanningNoNo
Days to harvest 80 70

Fruit Characteristics

Cherokee Purple Tomato Fruit

The Cherokee Purple fruit is known for its red fruit with purple or sometimes dark green coloring. The fruit is slightly flattened and measures 7-14 cm long. The fruit has a fairly large seed set, so the plant will be long-lived if it receives adequate pollination. You can expect to harvest anywhere from 12-18 oz of fruit off a mature plant. Beefsteak fruit is round, wide, and tall. It is best around 5″ across and 3.5″ tall.

Black Krim Tomato Fruit

Both Tomatoes are similar to a Krum, with the largest difference in fruit size. The Black Krim averages 8oz in weight at maturity. This tomato is still a decent size, but it would be best in salads or preserves.

Color and Growth Habit

Both tomatoes share the same color, green/brown shoulders, and ripen to one color. Indeterminate tomatoes are both drought tolerant and produce tomatoes all season long. They require staking or trellising to keep them from growing into an unmanageable bushes.


Cherokee Purple Flavor

Cherokee purple combines rich and smoky flavors with slightly sweet notes. It is used as a slicer. The fruit is sweet and juicy. This tomato produces an abundance of small green-red fruit. Cherokee Purple is great for fresh salsa or homemade ketchup and is a great gift.

Black Krim Flavor

Black Krim tomatoes are rich in flavor and smoky. They can be used in sandwiches or salads.

Physical characteristics: Type, Size, and Shape

Cherokee Purple tomatoes are slightly flattened, oblong-shaped tomatoes that are generally smaller than Black Krim tomatoes.

Krim plants typically yield 8 oz tomatoes, but some get up to 12 oz. However, Purple tomatoes can reach 1 lb, with some growers claiming to have grown larger ones.


1. Cherokee Purple

The time from planting to harvest depends on the plant’s age. If you planted by seed, this number is 80 days. Suppose you planted your seed indoors, 80 days again. If you started with a seedling, Counting from planting to 80 days is 100 days.

2. Black Krim

Harvest your Black Krim tomatoes around 70 days from planting if you planted by seed. It would be 80 days if you grew it from a seedling. If you start indoors, the harvest will be around 80 days from planting.


Both are indeterminate (they will keep growing all season). Beefsteak tomatoes are great as a “slicer” or steak sauce. Black Krim tomatoes are great for tomato sandwiches, salads, or ketchup.


Cherokee Purple has a slightly higher sugar content than Black Krim. This translates into a sweeter flavor, although the two are said to be indistinguishable from each other. Cherokee Purple also has slightly more meat and less water, which is great for making ketchup. Black Krim tomatoes are drier and more acidic, with a longer shelf life for eating as slices or salads. Both produce smaller fruit than larger fruit.

Which is Better: Black Krim vs. Cherokee Purple?

Both produce tomatoes of similar size and yield. So the only difference is that purple tomatoes are sweeter than krims. The sweetness can vary from cultivar to cultivar. While both tend to be long keepers, the purple tomato is about 3 times sweeter, making it an excellent all-purpose variety for making sauces, jams, or ketchup.

Black Krim and Cherokee Purple are both indeterminate; this means that they will keep growing until frost or fire season comes to an end. They will continue to mature and ripen all summer unless you’re going out of your way to pick a few early fruits when they’re still small enough for storage in your refrigerator before turning green/ripe.

Growth Patterns

Both Black Krim and Cherokee Purple will grow in containers and planter boxes. They are both very vigorous growers that produce abundant fruit but are also very short-lived. Their short-lived lives lead to the need for harvesting just as the tomatoes are done ripening. Indeterminate tomatoes can keep growing until the season ends with the first frost. They will continue to ripen and mature into harvestable fruits until then. When you have an early-ripening tomato, you’ll want to harvest it in a full season as soon as the fruit has developed its maximum flavor. Once a vine reaches its ultimate maturity, it will grow into pumpkins and keep producing tomatoes forever.

Tips for success with Heirloom Tomatoes

1. Space Generously

Growers can increase space for heirloom tomatoes by providing extra space. This helps reduce pressure from disease and helps to increase air circulation. 2-foot spacing between varieties is the right way to plant varieties greater than 4 feet apart.

2. Provide Plenty of Sunlight

To ensure the best possible flavor, tomatoes require lots of sunlight. They grow their best in full sun, but they can tolerate some afternoon shade when growing indoors. If you want to provide the best-tasting results in your garden, make sure you’ve planted your tomatoes close enough together to receive the necessary amount of light. Tomatoes should never be planted too close together as this can inhibit root development, leading to lesser-tasting fruit.

3. Provide Great Soil Conditions

To grow in great condition, heirloom tomatoes must be properly fertilized and watered regularly. By fertilizing and watering regularly, you’ll also encourage good root growth, which will lead to a better-tasting crop. Adding manure or compost into your soil is also highly recommended, as this will aid in supplying the necessary nutrients for good tomato growth.

4. Mulch

Tomatoes need to be mulched to prevent disease and weed growth. Poor soil conditions can spoil a proper tomato garden, leading to poor tomato growth and less-than-great-tasting fruit. Mulch helps trap moisture and prevents weeds from growing in your soil.

5. Don’t Over Water Your Tomatoes

Watering tomatoes too much can lead to “damping off,” a fungus that will weaken your tomato plants’ root system and may even kill the plant completely. It is important to give tomatoes plenty of water, but flooding the soil with too much water will not produce good results in the long run. When watering tomatoes, ensure you soak the soil well before re-disturbing the soil.

6. Choose Heirloom-like varieties

Most commercial tomatoes grown today are hybrid varieties, meaning they were crossbred to make them better tasting, more disease resistant, and generally more profitable. Heirloom tomatoes (as opposed to hybrids) tend to be smaller with lower acidity, but since they have not been bred for taste or disease resistance, they tend to remain crisp and tart even when fully ripe. Heirlooms are typically sold in local stores and some farmers’ markets.


In this article, we have talked about Cherokee Purple vs. Black Krim Tomato. It is up to you which one you prefer and can fit your taste. They are very different and have pros and cons, so if you decide to grow Black Krim or Cherokee Purple tomatoes, it’s best to research them first. No matter which tomato you grow, always consider your family’s needs and plant accordingly. I hope you like the article. If you have any questions, please comment below.