It is a giant ancient variety native to Western Russia, named in honor of the city of Orenburg (“Оренбург” in Russian), an administrative capital of the homonymous oblast, located on the border of Asia and Europe, a few kilometers from the beginning of the Kazakh steppe! Today, this ancient variety is particularly widespread and cultivated in Siberia, as its earliness and winter hardiness allow it to be grown in regions with the shortest summers. With its rather exceptional size (each tomato quickly weighs more than a kilo), this tomato of Russian origin is also gaining a place and reputation in European vegetable gardens.
The Orenburg tomato, the “Russian Steak”!
Indeed, the giant Orenburg tomato is a variety of the “Beefsteak” type, that is, a large fleshy and ribbed variety. It very easily reaches the kilo at harvest, some specimens can approach 1.5 kilos. This highly productive tomato is harvested mid-season (75 to 80 days ripeness), which is rare for varieties of this caliber, which is one of the reasons for its success! At full maturity, the skin has a beautiful pink-red color with green shoulders.
In terms of taste, it is a dense-fleshed tomato with a sweet and melting taste, without acidity, which some will appreciate and others may find a bit bland, but it is an excellent tomato nonetheless. It is a variety that is ideally eaten in a salad, but is also suitable for a Provencal preparation or even stuffed in the oven.
Note that there is a slight spelling confusion in the name of its variety. In French online catalogs and encyclopedias, this variety is often found under the name “OreMbourg”, a poor translation of the city’s name. The name as it should be is ‘Géante d’OreNbourg’!
As a landscape architect and geographer by training, I am passionate about the plant world and its countless curiosities. Founder of the Rexania blog and activist for gardening in harmony with nature, I am also an Alsatian gardener, ardent defender of ancient, free and reproducible varieties.