It’s time for heirloom tomatoes! This season is short and sweet, so take advantage of the bounty right now by enjoying memorable dishes like Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber and Red Onion Salad opens in a new tab and Heirloom Tomato, Kale and Orzo Salad opens in a new tab.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Basil-Yogurt Drizzle opens in a new tabClassic heirloom varieties are prized for their intense flavors, vibrant colors and unique shapes. Here are a few of our favorites:
Cherokee Purple. This very large, beefsteak variety is purple or very dark red. It’s deeply flavored and rich with a firm, dense texture. Slice these tomatoes thickly and serve with brined cheeses such as feta or with a sweet drizzle of honey.
Marvel Stripe. This large, beefsteak variety is yellow with interior blush. It’s mild, sweet and fruity with low acidity. These tomatoes are juicy and soft and are wonderful for gazpacho, paired with balsamic vinegar as a tomato relish or with earthy clothbound cheddar cheese.
Brandywine. This is another large, beefsteak variety, however these tomatoes are pink or yellow and sweet with low acidity. They are perfect for sandwiches, used as the base of a fresh summer salad or paired with the creamy saltiness of Parmigiano Reggiano.
Evergreen. This is a medium to large, beefsteak variety. They stay green when ripe and are mild and sweet. Make tomato preserves, a sandwich with triple crème Brie and baguette or bread and fry slices for fried green tomatoes.
Black Prince. This is a medium-sized, round globe variety that’s purple or very dark red. It’s deep and sweetly flavored with a firm texture. Sprinkle wedges with vinaigrette and fresh herbs for a simple treat; pair with Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue to match the tomato’s sweetness.
Sun Gold. This small, cherry variety is dark yellow or almost orange. These tomatoes are tangy-sweet and perfect for an anytime snack, tossing into quick salads, baking on pizzas and flatbreads and pairing with Parrano cheese.
Black Cherry. This small, cherry variety is purple or dark red, very sweet and highly flavored. They’re great in salads, roasting whole, baking into focaccia and pairing with Monterey Jack for a cream-of-tomato soup flavor combination.
Quick Heirloom Tomato Focaccia opens in a new tabHungry yet? Here are some ideas and recipes:
Eat them out of hand or slice and eat as is or with a favorite light dressing. (Go easy on the dressing so as not to drown the flavor of the tomatoes.)
Slice and serve with fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, extra-virgin olive oil, toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds and a sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs such as oregano or basil.
Serve with scrambled eggs, omelets or as a side dish to grilled meats. This Savory Corn Tart with Heirloom Tomatoes opens in a new tab is really delicious! Add to a leafy green salad, a vegetable salad or hot or cold couscous or pasta salad.
Make Fresh Heirloom Tomato Juice opens in a new tab; spice it up with Tabasco or lemon juice if desired. (Tip: Use it for Bloody Marys.)
Serve with a favorite cheese or sauce. Heirloom Tomato Salad with Basil-Yogurt Drizzle opens in a new tab is simple, fresh and delicious.
Serve tuna salad, tempeh salad, chicken salad, egg salad, tofu salad or shrimp salad over a bed of sliced heirlooms.
Stuff heirlooms with tuna salad or a whole grain salad. Couscous-Filled Heirloom Tomatoes opens in a new tab are stuffed with garbanzo beans and whole wheat couscous.
Add heirlooms to grain salads. Here’s a super simple, no-cook Heirloom Tomato and Bulgur Salad opens in a new tab recipe that uses tomato juice to soften the bulgur.
Make an heirloom tomato pizza, or try our Quick Heirloom Tomato Focaccia opens in a new tab.
Serve with sliced avocados and pinch of flaky sea salt.
Tomatoes should feel heavy for their size, be soft and yield only slightly to the touch. Size has no correlation with quality — large tomatoes can be just as delicious as small ones. Also, avoid tomatoes with open splits and cracks. Only purchase what you can eat within a few days. Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature, not the refrigerator because it destroys both flavor and texture.
Got a great heirloom tomato recipe? Share it in the comments section below.