15 Recipes to Make the Most of Juicy Heirloom Tomatoes
Heirlooms are tomatoes (or other plants) grown from seeds handed down over generations. They are open-pollinated, meaning they produce seeds that resemble the parent plant, which not always the case with commercial hybrids. Hybrid tomatoes are often bred for durability, so they can be shipped. Heirloom tomatoes are more diverse. Traditionally they were bred for flavor, and their apperances vary widely; some are small and some extremely large. Heirloom tomatoes also come in a veritable rainbow of shades, not just bright red to pinkish tones but all the way through orange and yellow to striped and ombré colorings. Their names are attractive, too: Brandywine, Purple Cherokee, Green Zebra, Kellogg's Breakfast, and Nebraska Wedding are just a few of the heirloom tomatoes available as seed to grow your own or to buy at the farmers' market.
When shopping for heirloom tomatoes look for plump fruit without bruises or decay as you would with any tomatoes. Heirlooms are more susceptible to cracking, but as long as the cracks are healed (meaning you can't see the flesh), the blemish won't affect taste or safety. Once home, store tomatoes on the counter—not in the refrigerator—for a day or two. So, what are the best ways to enjoy this tasty summer staple? Let heirloom tomatoes shine in simple, sunny salads like our Tomato and Beet Salad. You can also use heirloom tomatoes for appetizers made for sharing, such as tartines or bruschetta. And if you're hosting brunch, you can't go wrong with our Bloody-Mary Tomato Salad.