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Heirloom Tomatoes

The next time you want to make a simple, sexy dish in the summertime, think heirloom tomatoes.

These cousins to the hothouse varieties generally found in the supermarket are harder to find because they bear less fruit, are more prone to cracking and bruising, and are usually irregularly shaped due to their open pollination (meaning by wind or bugs and such). But don’t be fooled by their pudgy, imperfect look. Similar to certain other late-night, last-call situations, if you just close your eyes and take a bite, you’ll soon be moaning in pleasure. So pick up one of these natural wonders at your local farmers’ market or the Whole Foods and go to town. These tomatoes can be used in any recipe that calls for them, and we’ve highlighted a few of our favorite varieties below:

This is one of the most popular and common heirloom varieties. It has an Amish lineage that has been traced back more than 100 years and was supposedly named after Brandywine Creek in Chester County, PA. It is a red tomato, with a slightly irregular globe shape and a nice, sweet full flavor. A great introduction to the world of heirloom tomatoes due to its common appearance and well-rounded flavor, it’s perfect to chop up with some herbs, a pinch of salt, lemon and olive oil for bruschetta.

Cherokee Purple:

This variety is at least 100 years old and was supposedly grown by the Cherokee Indians. A large fruit (12oz – 16 oz) they are dark pink with dark purple at the top. It has a very complex flavor, with a bit more acid than other varieties and a sweet finish. It’s perfect for sandwich slices or dishes that can stand up to the bold flavor.

No, this is not a typo. There is a yellow tomato called a persimmon. This is by far the sexiest yellow (even though it sometimes looks more orange than yellow) tomato we’ve ever had the pleasure of ravaging! Each one can grow up to one pound and the exquisite low acid flavor profile makes it great for any dish. Use them on their own or with the Brandywines to create an interesting color palette on your plate.

Marvel Stripe:
This one is a rare find, so it affords you great flavor AND great conversation as you regale her with the following tidbit… It’s a rare traditional tomato that was grown by the Zaptotec people of Oaxaca. Tell her you trekked far and wide to find this special tomato just for her. It’s red and yellow coloring makes a beautiful presentation and the sweet flavor will knock her socks off (and hopefully more!)

Big Boy:
If you absolutely have to buy a supermarket tomato, this is one of your best bets. It’s a hybrid variety that is a beefsteak type of fruit. It’s big. It’s red. It looks like a beautiful tomato and it’s very versatile. Slice it, chop it, sauté it, puree it, grill it – anything goes with this one.

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