|Photo from the Melrose Place Farmers Market|
Heirlooms are so named because their seeds can be easily passed down from gardener to gardener (and that's just what gardeners have done for centuries!). They grow "true to seed," meaning that when you replant the seeds of one plant, the new tomato plant will yield a similar fruit. Over the years, a number of varieties have taken favor, and you can check out the many colors, shapes, and taste descriptions here. While their often superior taste may be in part from their breed, it also is likely due to the fact that they are allowed to ripen on the vine, making them their peak of flavor and ripeness when they get to your plate. Heirloom tomatoes, unlike many commercial varieties, can split easily, making them more susceptible to spoilage. Choose intact fruits and use them shortly after purchase from the market or picking from your garden.
Enjoy heirloom slices alongside any summer dinner, chopped into fresh salsa or sauce, or try this fast, easy summer salad recipe:
Easy Heirloom Tomato Salad
2 large heirloom tomatoes, diced
2 Persian cucumbers, sliced (these are small; you can also use ~1/2 your standard cucumber)
1/4 red onion, diced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
Toss all ingredients in large bowl and enjoy!