July 4, 2019

Guide to Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes
For most people, summer conjures up images of warm weather, pool parties, summer camp and beach trips. For us (and for the other serious foodies out there), summer means one thing: heirloom tomatoes! We wait all year for these flavorful juicy fruits to ripen and be harvested, so they can finally make their way into your farm box. We only have a few months to savor these little gems; make the most of them using our heirloom tomato guide!

What are heirloom tomatoes?

Like your family heirlooms, the seeds of heirloom tomatoes have been passed down for generations for at least 50 years. They are open-pollinated, meaning that they are naturally pollinated by birds, insects and the wind. For those who are familiar with heirlooms, you know that this sometimes leads to some funky and interesting-looking tomatoes.

Unlike the tomatoes we often see in the grocery store, heirlooms have not been refined and selected for certain qualities like color and shape, so they often appear misshapen and “ugly”. Don’t let the unique shapes and colors scare you off! Rest assured that those cracks and bumps are totally fine, just so long as they haven’t broken through the skin of the tomato.

Why choose heirloom tomatoes?

Like many others, we love heirloom tomatoes for their superior flavor, their unusual shapes and sizes, and their beautiful colors ranging from deep purples and browns to bright yellows and vibrant pinks. We love getting into the nitty-gritty of the qualities and characteristics of specific tomato varieties, but we will give you a quick overview to make it easy:
  • Yellow tomatoes tend to be sweeter and less acidic, leading to a milder flavor.
  • Red tomatoes tend to be more tart.
  • Green tomatoes often have a slightly zesty flavor and a tart citrusy tang.
  • Darker tomato varieties generally have more savory, complex flavors.
Heirloom Tomatoes

Tomato Troubleshooting

The bad news is that heirloom tomatoes generally have a shorter shelf life. They have thinner skin, so they are more prone to bruising and they tend to spoil quickly. The good news is that we have some tips for how to get the most out of your tomatoes:
  • It’s generally best to use them within 1-2 days.
  • Store your tomatoes on your counter at room temp! The cool temperature of your refrigerator can cause the natural sugars in the tomato to convert to starch, leaving you with a less desirable mealy texture.
  • If your tomato isn’t quite up to par, sprinkle some salt (or sugar) on it to accentuate the flavor. You can also drizzle the tomato with balsamic or even honey.
  • Grilling or roasting the tomato can help create a more concentrated flavor because the heat causes moisture in the tomato to evaporate.

Tomato Inspiration

One of our favorite aspects of heirloom tomatoes is their versatility. You can pair it with mozzarella for a simple Caprese salad that showcases the beautiful flavors of the tomato; you can use them to create a rich and flavorful pizza or spaghetti sauce; you can dice them to make a delicious salsa or bruschetta topping; or you can simply add them to a sandwich or pretty much any dish! Keep reading for some of our favorite summer tomato recipes.

Heirloom Tomato

Refreshing Heirloom Tomato Salad

This colorful salad is not only refreshing but satisfying as well. With natural heirloom tomato juices, crunchy cucumber, spicy red onion, delicate basil and drizzled olive oil, you’re going to love the flavors and textures in this salad.

Heirloom Tomato

Heirloom Tomato Tart

This colorful tart has a crispy puff pastry base with a sweet roasted heirloom tomato topping complimented by fresh herbs, a basil vinaigrette and creamy feta or goat’s cheese.

Heirloom Tomato

Grilled Peach & Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata

This delicious salad has caramelized grilled peaches with fresh heirloom tomatoes, spicy red onion and basil topped with creamy, milky burrata cheese and a balsamic reduction.

Heirloom Tomato

Heirloom Tomato Garlic Toast with Basil Whipped Feta

When you need a simple and delicious recipe to serve on a weeknight, this should be your go-to. Made with Summer’s sweet heirloom tomatoes with a creamy, basil feta spread on garlicky, crunchy toast.

Heirloom Tomato

Apricot and Peach Salad

This salsa is sweet, salty and spicy. We love it with chips or on crackers atop smashed avocado.

Can't Get Enough Tomatoes?

Join us on the farm for our 12th annual Capay Tomato festival! Bring the family out for music, heirloom tomato tasting, a harvest activity, tractor-tram rides and local food vendors. Buy your tickets here! Find more information about our seasonal farm events here: https://www.farmfreshtoyou.com/events

Capay Tomato 2018

How to add products to your delivery: CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. The Market is open from noon on Thursday until
6 pm, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery.

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