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The Jubilee Tomato

One of the definitions of “jubilee” is “a season of celebration.” For gardeners, that sounds like a great way to describe tomato season and the Jubilee tomato is something to celebrate in the garden. Also known as the “Golden Jubilee” tomato, it only takes one look at the beautiful fruit to know why.

Keep reading to learn more about the unusual characteristics of this tomato that might make the Jubilee tomato a perfect candidate for your garden this summer.

Ripe orange-colored tomatoes on the vine.

History of the Jubilee Tomato

The Jubilee tomato was bred by Burpee Seeds and Plants. The Jubilee is a six-generation cross between the “Tangerine” and “Rutgers” tomatoes. The Jubilee was an All American Selection winner in 1943 and a favorite tomato in the “victory gardens” that were popular at the time.

Characteristics of the Jubilee Tomato

The Jubilee tomato is an indeterminate heirloom that grows 4 feet high and 4 feet wide, which make it compact for an indeterminate variety. The plant’s vines are short-stemmed and stiff and require strong stakes or some other heavy-duty support. It’s a high-yielding tomato that produces large, yellow-orange beefsteak fruit.

An interesting characteristic of the Jubilee is that it’s resistant to cracking — cracked fruit is how many diseases enter a tomato plant, so this natural resistance is good news for gardeners!

Closeup of Jubilee tomatoes on the vine.
Jubilee tomatoes on the vine.

Ripening Season

The Jubilee is a mid-season tomato, with about 80 days to maturity,

Tomato Qualities

The fruit of the Jubilee tomato is round, with smooth skin, meaty and thick-walled flesh, few seeds, and a sweet taste with no acid.

Tomato Size

Jubilees are large, 3-inch fruit weighing around 8 ounces.

Closeup of a picked orange-colored tomato.

Planting Zones

Jubilee tomatoes can be grown all over the US in zones 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. The only exceptions are the northernmost areas.

Seeds can be sown as early as February in the warmest zones.

Size and Spacing

Tomato seedlings should be planted deeply with only the top 1-2 sets of leaves showing (after planting, pinch off the others). Moisten the soil prior to planting.

Plant Jubilee tomatoes 24-36 inches apart and put large cages, heavy-duty stakes, or some sort of sturdy structure in place for tying the vines to.

Pollination

Jubilee tomatoes are self-pollinating and only need natural pollinators like honeybees, bumblebees, and wind to get the job done.

A bumblebee pollinating a tomato blossom.

Plant Care

The following sections will provide highlights about tomato care. For a complete guide on optimal tomato plant care, from planting to harvesting and storage, please check out our article on How To Grow Tomatoes: The Complete Guide For the Best Tomatoes.  You may also be interested in our blog post on how to grow big tomatoes!

Jubilee tomatoes are easy to grow and require only normal tomato plant care.

Sunlight

Tomatoes are full sun plants and need at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.

Soil

Tomatoes love soil that is neutral (a pH between 6.0-6.5), well-draining, and amended with compost and decomposed manure to a depth of 24-36 inches. Adding crushed or ground eggshells to the soil may also help prevent blossom end rot.

Water

Spread a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around your tomato plants, but keep the ground clear of mulch three inches around the base of the plant. Water on a regular basis at the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry. Most tomatoes need an inch of water each week.

Fertilizer

Tomatoes require specific nutrients (such as calcium) to produce their best crops of fruit. To learn how to determine what your tomatoes need and when they need it, consult our ultimate tomato fertilizer guide.

Pruning/Pinching

Pruning and pinching are a tomato care technique that can help your tomato put forth its best yield. But you need to know when to do this and what tomatoes need it. To help you with this, visit our pruning tomatoes guide.

Hand pinching sucker growing on a tomato plant.

Disease

As mentioned earlier, Jubilee tomatoes are naturally resistant to cracking, which means less chance for disease to enter the fruit and the plant. Jubilee is also naturally resistant to alternaria stem canker.

Having said this, it’s still wise to take normal precautions against the common tomato diseases like blight, fusarium wilt, Septoria leaf spot, Verticillium wilt, and Southern bacterial wilt. Keeping the foliage dry by watering the base of the plant is your best defense against tomato plant disease.

To learn how to detect, treat, and take steps to prevent diseases, read our tomato diseases guide.

Pests

Pests love tomatoes as much as we do. Aphids, whiteflies, tomato hornworms, slugs, pill bugs, stink bugs, and rodents are just a few of the critters you’ll have to be on the lookout for. Companion plants like marigolds, catnip, fennel, dill, basil, and cilantro repel common tomato pests. Netting helps keep out birds and larger pests, but can also interfere with beneficial insects and pollinators.

For information to help you spot, eliminate, and deter 15 different pests, visit our guide on common tomato pests.

When to Harvest Jubilee Tomatoes

Picked orange tomatoes on a counter.

Jubilee tomatoes are ripe when dark yellow in color and have a firm feel to them when you gently squeeze them. You can begin harvesting them in June and the plants will continue to produce through October or until the first frost.

Jubilee tomatoes will continue to ripen after picking, so store them at room temperature. For the best flavor, eat your tomatoes within 7 days of picking them.

Common Uses For Jubilee Tomatoes

Jubilee tomatoes make interesting-colored juice. They’re also used for canning, salads, salsas. Reports are that the skin is easy to peel off even without being cooked.

Orange tomatoes on a counter, one of them cut in half on a cutting board.

What Does This Tomato Taste Like?

Jubilee tomatoes have very low acidity and their flavor is sweet and mild.

Cooking

Jubilee tomatoes can be used in all your favorite tomato recipes. The color of the fruit will give your sauces and chilies an interesting appearance, but with great flavor.

Dish of potato gnocchi with tomato sauce.

Eating Raw

The color and taste make great additions to sandwiches and burgers, salads, salsas, pico de gallo, and juice.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

Jubilee tomatoes are high-yield tomatoes, so you’re probably going to need to preserve your harvest. These tomatoes do well for canningfreezing, and drying.

Recipe Ideas

Tomato Juice

Yellow Tomato and Gin Bloody Mary (for those who require a more “adult” beverage!)

Mojito-Style Yellow Tomato Salsa

Sweet Yellow Tomato Chutney

Golden Tomato Sauce

Health Benefits of Jubilee Tomatoes

All tomatoes are high in fiber, vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate. They’re also one of the best dietary sources of lycopene, an antioxidant credited with reducing the risks of heart disease and cancer.

But the Jubilee tomato is a yellow/orange tomato, which means it contains lots of beta-carotene (neutralizes free-radicals), extra folate and niacin, and even higher amounts of vitamin C than darker-colored tomatoes.

Two glasses of juice made from  tomatoes and other produce.

Where to Buy Jubilee Tomato Plants or Seeds

You may be able to find Jubilee tomato starter plants at local retailers that carry Bonnie Plants products. Other online retailers advertise Jubilee tomato plants on their websites (Google to get a current listing).

Jubilee tomato seeds are even easier to find for sale. Many online retailers carry them (Amazon.com, for instance) and there’s a good chance your local garden centers will carry them.

Just be sure to remember that the tomato could also go by the name “Golden Jubilee.”

Where to Buy Jubilee Tomatoes

Closeup of picked yellow-orange tomatoes.

Grocery stores aren’t likely to carry Jubilee tomatoes, like most heirloom varieties. You’ll want to visit your local farmers markets or make calls to tomato farms in your area to see if they offer Jubilees for sale.

Wrapping Up the Jubilee Tomato

A bright orange tomato on a vine next to a smaller, green one.

The sunny, cheerful color and sweet taste of its fruit made the Jubilee tomato an instant hit when Burpee first released it in 1943 and it still remains a favorite among heirloom tomato growers today. If you’re looking for a dependable, high-yielding indeterminate tomato that isn’t a space hog, the Jubilee may be just what you’re looking for in your garden.

Have you grown or enjoyed Jubilee tomatoes? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below! And to read about other tasty tomatoes, click this link for our other tomato-related blog posts.