Its time to pick the last of the tomatoes off the vine. Soup and sauce and pico salad are going to be on many tables this week. It is the heirloom tomato that I like to use in my recipes. Rich tomato soup that coats your tongue with sweet tomato and spice. Tomato sauce over pasta with an earthy taste and velvety feel as it slides down your throat with plump pasta noodles. I have included a link to a video by Vanity Fair that pokes fun at the culture that has come to surround heirloom tomatoes. A cute video that will put a smile on your face and give you a brief look at heirloom tomatoes to develop an understanding of these tasty tomatoes.
What makes an heirloom tomato different from a hybrid and what is all the craziness surrounding these varieties. Easily defined, unlike modern hybrid varieties, an heirloom variety’s seeds have been passed down from gardener to gardener over the years. The craze is due to the undeniable full flavor and variety of flavors. So, the real reason to choose heirloom varieties is the taste. Without one heirloom-tomato taste; you have wide ranges of flavors for the many heirloom-tomatoes. They have a much more distinct flavor than that of the tomatoes at the grocery store. Here are a couple of my favorites that keep me coming back for more.
Speckled roman: These playfully colored beauties have popped up at many farmers markets over the past few years. Beautifully striped with orange and yellow that draws potential customers to the stand. Great for sauce and a wonderful addition to any salad.
German: Large lobed, red and yellow streaked beefsteaks are beautiful when sliced. Mottled red and yellow that looks like watercolor. A complex, fruity flavor make beautiful slices for sandwiches or a fresh tomato platter on a hot summer day.
Purple Cherokee: earthier, sweeter. fuller tasting than most varieties. They are be a reddish-purple color and produce large up to 2 pound tomatoes. If you want to try an heirloom this should be your first. Great as a sandwich on cracked wheat bread with pesto and paper thin slices of pecorino cheese. Simple and delicious.
Brandywine: To me the most famous of heirloom tomato, ‘Brandywine’ may have been the tomato to start the heirloom craze. It produces large red 2 pound tomatoes. SO good with olive oil and avocado.
Green zebra: distinct tennis-ball-size fruits are gold with bold green stripes. It is one of my favorites with great flavor and is often ranked as one of the top-tasting heirlooms. Great in a caprese salad with Brandywine tomatoes.
Wapsipinicon peach: 2-inch bright yellow-gold color that have a slight fuzzy coating, ‘Wapsipinicon Peach’ tomato has a spicy sweet almost citrus flavor. Cultivated in the 1800s in Iowa. Named after the Wapsipinicon River in Northeast Iowa.
Costoluto genovese: heat-loving, heirloom tomato that has been cultivated for many years along the Mediterranean. Large, deep-red, deeply ridged, meaty, full-flavored, slightly tart, and delicious. With it’s scalloped edges, a striking stuffed tomato. Makes a rich and pungent pasta sauce.
Cannot wait until next years crop and new recipes for each lovely tomato.