Try this quick and simple fresh heirloom tomato salad for a taste of the summer!
If you love tomatoes, then summer is your season! I am always excited to see when heirloom tomato varietals make their appearance at the farmers market or grocery stores. Initially, I was attracted to their myriad of colors both inside and out.
As I begin to learn more, I select carefully based on what flavors I am craving. One of the best ways to enjoy these rare summer fruits are in a classic seasonal heirloom tomato salad recipe.
What is an Heirloom Tomato?
Heirloom tomatoes historically have a family heritage; a seed variety passed down from generation to generation with different flavor characteristics that have been open air pollinated (non-hybrid). With the popularity of heirloom tomatoes, it is common to find commercialized heirlooms that have seeds that have been circulated for at least 50 years or cultivated before 1940. There are also created heirlooms that have been hybridized or even mystery heirlooms that have been naturally cross pollinated with other varieties.
During my recent visit to the local farmer’s market in Orange, California. I wanted to get the low down on these beautiful and unique tomatoes. The producer informed me that the season typically begins around May, peaks in August and ends in early September.
The heirloom tomatoes from her farm thrive in warm weather, which since it’s been warm prolongs the season! Each varietal matures at different times, so it’s if you can get to a farmers market, they will have the ripest varietals ready for eating. Right now heirloom tomatoes are about $3 per pound, and well worth the investment. Get them now while they are at their peak!
Heirloom tomatoes come in various shapes, sizes, and colors; they each have a unique flavor profile. The farmer informed me that the lighter the color, the less acidic (you can compare to a typical red tomato). I carefully selected three very different varieties based on their taste characteristics:
- Cherokee Purple- The outside has strips of red, eggplant purple, and green stripes, the colors also run through the inside of the tomato. The flavor is intense, low in acidity and just slightly sweet. It
- Pineapple- Orange and red on the outside, and yellow with blushes of red on the inside. Very sweet, low acidity and nice flavor.
- Great White- Sunshine yellow on the outside, and pale yellow on the inside. A very mild in flavor and low acidity, with a hint of sweetness.
I could not wait to slice these fresh and ripe heirlooms for a refreshing salad. The heirlooms are so naturally flavorful, that you really don’t need much to enhance the flavor. There are so many varieties to enjoy, try to choose a few varieties so you can have a different flavor experience with each bite!