Tomato Tasting: ‘German Cascade’

Tomato 'German Cascade'

Tomato ‘German Cascade’

Here’s my thought process when I see tomato seeds for sale.

1. “Oooh, what’s that?”
2. “Well I’ve never heard of this…”
3. “I guess I better buy it.”

So as one could imagine, I have quite a variety of tomato seed floating around.

This tomato I had bought on a whim. I had never heard if it, nor had the interweb apparently, since when I got home and tried to google it I found absolutely no information available. I couldn’t find a colour, any growth info, I couldn’t even find if it was a cherry or not. I asked around, nobody else had seemed to heard of it either. All I had to go by was what was said on the seed packet:

Good taste. Good producer. Stake.

Ya, seriously not much to go on. But I’m a sucker for a mystery (especially a tomato mystery) so I bought it.

Aug 6 - Tomato 'German Cascade'

Growth Notes

Now I must preface this by saying that ALL the tomatoes had a tough year. Besides a few (and those entries will be coming later) the wacky weather really took a toll on the plants. It literally, over night, went from a high of 10C in the end of May, to a high of 30C. No amount of hardening off could have prepared them for that (and I am rigorous with my hardening off – sounds a little dirty, doesn’t it?).

That being said, this tomato got burnt back pretty badly (as did about 90% of my ‘maters, so this year a lot of judgment on growth is “how well did this bounce back?”). However, it did bounce back, but it took a while. About 4-6 weeks to bounce back enough to actually start producing, so it made it a little difficult for me to judge whether this is a mid or late variety. When it did bounce back, it produced, well, not great. Only a few tomatoes came out. However, by the end of the season, of course when it started to frost, this plant REALLY got going. Tons of fruit just exploded. I reckon during a more stable year (temperature wise) the production on this plant is fantastic.

The Look

The colour of this tomato is your absolute classic red. Even most red tomatoes don’t have this vibrancy of colour. But what really caught my eye was the unripened colour. I’d never quite seen an unripened tomato with this shade of light-limey-jade-green before. They looked like little jewels on the vine.

It’s definitely a pretty tomato, and even in my bed of wild and wacky tomato colours, this one routinely caught the eye of people taking a look around.

Fruit ended up being about 1.5-2″ in diameter, somewhere in between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball. Perfectly round, and very uniform. They average about 60 grams a piece.

The Taste

I had a lot of tomato taste surprises this year, but this one takes the cake. I hadn’t expected too much from it. Mostly because I hadn’t heard anything about it, so why would I expect much? When something like “good taste” is written on a seed packet without any description of that taste, I guess I just don’t think it’s going to be that outstanding. Especially with its smaller size.

Holy crap, was I ever wrong.

I have never tasted a red tomato like this. Ever. And I’m not entirely sure there are any words in the English language to properly describe this flavour. Rich is immediately the first word to pop into my head. It is an extremely rich tomato. Not just rich, but with complex flavours. It’s acidic, but sweet, but earthy all at the same time. It’s almost a flavour you’d expect from the best of the best of the black tomatoes.

You know how a really fine expensive Scotch has a really peaty earthy flavour? That’s almost what this tomato reminded me of. But, you know, without the booze.

I must put a disclaimer here though. Mr. B, my partner (in crime) often partakes in the tomato tastings with me. He did not like the flavour of this one. And it’s not as though he’s opposed to earthy rich flavours (he’s the Scotch lover in the house). But he did liken this tomato to “dirty socks”. I, however, did not get that at all. But this appears to be one of those tomatoes that really clicks with your pallet – or you hate it.

Recommended uses: because this tomato is quite juicy, it’s a great fresh or juicing tomato (if you’re so inclined to make tomato juice). I tried putting a few in a sauce but the juice definitely made the sauce quite thin.

The Verdict

This plant had a tough year, and I wasn’t too impressed with how long it took to bounce back from being burnt, or in fact, how badly it got burnt while other tomatoes in the garden did a lot better under the crazy weather situation we had this year. However, the rate at which it finally did start producing near the end of the season convinced me that this is a good producer, although not entirely too heat resistant.

I was just about to give up on this tomato before I tasted it. The taste alone is enough to convince me to give it another go. I will definitely grow it again next year.

Originally posted @, October, 2009