Andine cornue tomato, a horn-like tomato that’s delicious and productive

Andine cornue tomato growing on a stake

It looks like a large chili, which makes the ‘Andine Cornue’ tomato among the most recognizable.

It has all you’d expect from a tomato that clearly deserves a row in your veggie patch: vigor, productivity, abundant fruits

Origin and characteristics

As its name shows, this tomato is native to the Andes mountains of South America. The name is French because a French botanist made it known to the world. The plant also appears under the name ‘Red bull horn’, ‘Horn of the Andes’, ‘Rouge des Andes’ and even ‘Red banana’ tomato. Apart from this unique and uncommon silhouette, this tomato is perhaps the most appealing solanaceae variety of all:

  • it is vigorous and productive;
  • fruits have a melty, tasty flesh with virtually no seeds at all;
  • it’s easy to digest thanks to its very thin peel and low acidity.

Planting ‘Andine Cornue’ tomatoes

Sowing

Start your sowing as early as March, but make sure the seedlings are sheltered from freezing. To start them off, proceed as follows:

  • blend together and and soil mix and spread it in a tray or crate;
  • sow your seeds in packs of three;
  • when sprouts have produced two or three leaves, select the most vigorous among them and transfer them to nursery pots.

Planting ‘Cornue des Andes’ tomato

Once your seedlings have reached a nice size with several new leaves (or if you’ve purchased them), you can transplant them to the growing bed sometime in May, since freezing is unlikely after that. You’ll then have to :

  1. Planting Andine cornue tomato requires stakingenrich the topsoil with manure or well-seasoned compost;
  2. dig a hold about eight inches deep (twenty centimeters) and settle the foot down inside it, slanting it slightly;
  3. fit the plant with a stake;
  4. backfill the hole, burying the stem all the way up to the first few leaves. The plant will then sprout extra roots along this buried portion of the stem;
  5. water abundantly directly at the foot of each plantlet, without touching the leaves.

Care and growing

Caring for the ‘Andine Cornue’ tomato is, in the end, simply doing what’s needed to water. It must follow a regular schedule but should not be overabundant. Furthermore, to fully eliminate risk of diseases, do what you must to never get the leaves wet. When fruits begin to appear, start removing a few leaves to let sunlight filter to the forming fruits. The goal of this light defoliation is to help speed fruit ripening. Don’t overdo it, though, because you don’t want to weaken the plant.

Diseases and pests

As is the case for most tomato varieties, the ‘Andine Cornue’ also is impacted by tomato downy mildew. It may also fall victim to fruit tip necrosis. As for parasites and pests, tomato plants are often targeted by whitefly (tiny white winged insects) and bollworm moth caterpillars.

Harvesting and keeping ‘Cornue des Andes’

Depending on when the sowing started, the harvest extends from July to October. The best way to savor it is to simply pick whichever fruits are ripe, whenever you need them. To keep whichever extra fruits you may have harvested, place the tomatoes in the refrigerator for a maximum of 5 to 6 days.

Cooking with Andine Cornue tomato

Two Andine cornue tomatoes in a plateWhether you’re planning a tossed salad with mozzarella, a nice thick tomato sauce, tomato coulis or a delicious tomato juice, there’s always going to be a great recipe to accommodate your ‘Cornue des Andes’ tomato.

To learn more, read


Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
Pixabay: Hans Braxmeier, Alex, Herbert